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Can Floating Help Fight Addiction?

Floating, also called REST, which stands for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy, is a practice that grew out of the sensory deprivation experiments from the 1950s. In floating, you get in a tank filled with warm water saturated with epsom salts. The water is the same temperature as your body so you can’t feel it and the density of the water is high enough that you are perfectly suspended. The lid of the tank is closed, leaving you in perfect darkness. Then, you just float there for as long as you want. Sessions typically last from half an hour to two hours.

Float centers are becoming common all over the US. An hour session typically costs around 60 dollars, usually less if you buy several sessions at a time. These centers claim floating is an effective treatment for pretty much anything that ails you–anxiety, depression, headaches, chronic pain, stress, and addiction, as well as improving concentration, kindness, creativity, and spirituality. There hasn’t been much research to either support or refute these claims.

Typically, any therapy making so many claims should be regarded skeptically. If you are addicted to opioids, for example, you shouldn’t expect a couple of hours floating to fix you right up, for a lifetime. It does seem likely, though, that floating could be a useful complement to treatment for certain people.

The undeniable benefit of floating is that it allows you to relax deeply. There’s no noise, lights, temperature fluctuations, or even the weight of your own body to disturb your comfort. Most people find this profoundly relaxing, although some people get a bit anxious being closed in the tank. Taking time at regular intervals to completely relax helps relieve stress and anxiety, which are powerful relapse triggers. Floating also seems to help with chronic pain, which can be a challenge for people trying to quit opioids.

In terms of positive benefits, the deep relaxation of floating may be an opportunity for your brain to consolidate new memories and skills the same way it does during sleep. It might be useful to schedule a float session after meetings or therapy to give your brain time to process what you just experienced. If you’ve ever seen a brain image of someone addicted to meth, you can appreciate the value of letting your brain repair its circuits.

The claims of floating advocates are probably exaggerated but floating may help you better manage some of the challenges around addiction, such as stress, anxiety, and chronic pain. Some people claim it reduces their cravings. The only way to know if it works for you is try it. It’s not terribly expensive and even if it doesn’t do much for you, at least you can get a bit of rest.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.