Scientific Research on Floatation Therapy

Floatation therapy was once considered a fringe field of sensory deprivation better suited for sci-fi movies than an academic laboratory—but no longer. Thanks an ever-growing body of scientific research, floatation therapy, commonly referred to in scholarly literature as floatation REST, grows each year in stature as a promising treatment for afflictions as wide-ranging as fibromyalgia, addiction, and ADHD.

As we continue to break down the science behind the unique benefits of float therapy, we’ll be compiling a directory of floatation REST research studies here.

Studies on the Psychological Benefits of Floatation Therapy

From reducing stress to improving creativity and learning, studies have shown that float therapy can provide many psychological benefits:

  • The effect of the floatation version of Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) on jazz improvisation. Oshin Vartanian, Peter Suedfeld. Music and Medicine, May 2011.
  • Creativity enhancement through floatation isolation. Donald G. Forgays, Deborah K. Forgays. Journal of Environmental Psychology, December 1992.
  • The use of floatation rest in the treatment of persistent psychophysiological insomnia, UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project, 1989.
  • Case studies on fibromyalgia and burn-out depression using psychotherapy in combination with flotation-REST: Personality development and increased well-being. Åsenlöf K, Olsson S, Bood SÅ, Norlander T. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 2007.
  • Eliciting the relaxation response with the help of flotation-rest (restricted environmental stimulation technique) in patients with stress-related ailments. Bood, Sven Å.; Sundequist, Ulf; Kjellgren, Anette; Norlander, Torsten; Nordström, Lenneart; Nordenström, Knut; Nordström, Gun. International Journal of Stress Management, May 2006.
  • Enhanced independence and quality of life through treatment with flotation-Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique of a patient with both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome: a case report. Hanna Edebol, Anette Kjellgren, Sven-Åke Bood and Torsten Norlander. Cases Journal, 2009.
  • Quality of life with flotation therapy for a person diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, atypical autism, PTSD, anxiety and depression. Anette Kjellgren, Hanna Edebol, Tommy Nordén, Torsten Norlander. Open Journal of Medical Psychology, 2013.
  • Sensory Isolation in Flotation Tanks: Altered States of Consciousness and Effects on Well-being. The Qualitative Report, December 2008.
  • Flotation restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) as a stress-management tool: A meta-analysis. Psychology & Health, 2005.
  • Psychotherapeutic Treatment in Combination with Relaxation in a Flotation Tank: Effects on “Burn-Out Syndrome”. The Qualitative Report, September 2010.
  • The use of restricted environmental stimulation therapy in treating addictive behaviors. Roderick A. Borrie. The International Journal of Addictions, 1991.
  • Restricted environmental stimulation and smoking cessation: a 15-year progress report. Peter Suedfeld. The International Journal of Addictions, Aug. 1990.
  • Restricted environmental stimulation therapy of smoking: A parametric study. Peter Suedfeld, Gloria Baker-Brown. Addictive Behaviors, 1987.

Studies on the Physical Benefits of Floatation Therapy

Research has also shown that floating offers many physical benefits, from boosting athletic performance to pain relief to improving prenatal health:

Scientific Research on Magnesium

One of the added advantages of floating may be increased absorption of magnesium, a mineral present in the vast quantities of Epsom salt that make float tanks so buoyant. Magnesium has its own unique benefits, demonstrated in many studies not specifically related to floatation REST:

  • Management of fibromyalgia: rationale for the use of magnesium and malic acid. Guy E. Abraham and Jorge D. Flechas. Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, 1992.
  • Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium. Mauskop A., Varughese J. Journal of Neural Transmission, May 2012.
  • The effects of magnesium physiological supplementation on hyperactivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Positive response to magnesium oral loading test. B. Starobrat-Hermelin, T. Kozielec. Magnesium Research, June 1997.

Ready to experience the benefits of floating firsthand? Book a float at our Brookfield, WI float therapy center now. Want to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in floatation REST research? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!