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 Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

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: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>