Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Floating reduces stress-related pain

16.02.2006


Treatment in the form of floating in huge tanks of saltwater, so-called ‘floating,’ is effective for chronic stress-related pain. This is shown in a study at Karlstad University, Sweden, led by Professor Torsten Norlander.



The research study shows that individuals suffering from stress-related health problems such as chronic pain, depression, or anxiety are often helped a great deal by floating. The effect remains four months after the treatment period. A control group, which did not participate in floating, experienced no improvement in their health. The study is part of a series at the Human Performance Laboratory and is research project run in collaboration with the Värmland County Council.

The patients who were treated with floating had had health problems for a long time. Several of them had been diagnosed with ‘burn-out.’ They had various stress-related symptoms like pain, exhaustion, depression, and anxiety.


“These are individuals who often have tried many different forms of treatment before. They are individuals who are in the greatest possible need of relaxation but who have the hardest time adopting methods of relaxation. They are so tightly wound up that the methods don’t work,” says Professor Torsten Norlander.

What happens, then, when these patients are allowed to float? It appears that floating is an effective way to trigger the body’s relaxation response. The level of stress hormones goes down during and after floating. Moreover, it seems as if the treatment has an even greater effect since prolactin, a kind of ‘life-force hormone,’ is released in larger amounts.

After a period of treatment totaling seven weeks, 22 percent of the participants in the floating group were entirely free of pain, and 56 percent experience a clear improvement; 19 percent noticed no difference, and 3 percent grew worse.

In terms of symptoms, the findings were as follows: 23 percent slept better; 31 percent experienced less stress; 27 percent felt less anxiety; and 24 percent were less depressed or came out of their depression completely.

What the researchers find particularly gratifying is that the positive effects were still in evidence four months after the floating treatment ended.

To ensure that the good results can be ascribed to floating as such, the researchers set up, on the one hand, a control group that did not take part in floating and, on the other hand, a subdivision within the floating group. One of these subgroups received normal attention and encouragement, while the other subgroup was given extra attention and encouragement.

“It might be suspected that it was the attention and encouragement that yielded results, so we wanted to try treating the two floating groups differently. But it turned out that there was no difference between the two subgroups of floaters: their results were equally good. On the other hand, the control group, which did not take part in floating, registered no improvement whatsoever,” says Sven-Åke Bood, a doctoral student in psychology and a registered nurse. This research on floating is part of his coming doctoral dissertation.

Stress is largely about how we worry about things that have happened and are going to happen. When an individual, instead, manages to reach a sort of ‘here-and-now’ state, the brain can rest. These researchers believe that floating is a way of achieving just such a state. In a dark and silent floating tank, the patient is cut off from many sense impressions. Besides the rest the brain gets, the muscles also become relaxed.

In one study the researchers found that about 12 floating treatments are sufficient to achieve results. The group that received 33 floating treatments attained only slightly better pain relief and blood pressure levels. It seems as if 12 treatments are enough to alleviate anxiety, depression, and other stress-related symptoms.

In another study the researchers examined whether floating can be combined with conversational therapy. Thus far it seems that patients who float achieve positive results more quickly during conversational therapy. Floating enhances the effect.

The research project, which has been underway since 2003, is being funded by the Värmland County Council and the Center for Clinical Research.

These research findings are being presented in the prestigious American scientific journal International Journal of Stress Management in May and in a specialist journal for pain research.

Christina Celsing | alfa
Further information:
http://www.kau.se

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>