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Can Floatation Therapy Help with Depression and Stress Management?

The World Health Organization (WHO) says around 450 million people in the world suffer from mental health problems. In future, around 1 in 4 people will become afflicted with mental disorders.

The numbers are alarming, invoking doctors to research methods to offer timely treatments. Research in the field of flotation therapy seems to offer relief from depression, anxiety, and stress.

In 2012, the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal published a study focusing on the scope of flotation therapy. The study involved 65 participants out of which 51 were women, and 14 were men.

The chosen participants suffered from problems like pain, stress, anxiety, depression, and lack of motivation. The group was divided into two where the first group of 37 participants fell into the flotation-REST segment and the second group was a wait-list control segment consisting of 28 people. In the next seven weeks, the flotation-REST group participants were given twelve sessions of 45 minutes each.

Post the research, compared to the control group; the flotation-REST group improved conditions for stress, depression, pain, and anxiety.


Before floatation treatment, the stress score on an average was 1.86, and it dropped to 0.95 score post the therapy sessions. In comparison, the stress score with the control group increased to 1.89 from 1.84. A similar response was seen for anxiety and depression. The depression score in the control group went to 4.30 from 4 whereas, after flotation treatment, the group score went to 2.25 from 4.42.


Now that we have had an overview of the landmark study in the flotation therapy, let us understand what the treatment is all about.

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Understanding Floatation Therapy

Emotional and physical pains are treated with floatation therapy. It is the process of numbing all the sensory perceptions in a human body, alleviating the feeling of ‘pain’ in the body. Effectively, the external stimulus is removed, and the mind experiences intense satisfaction and reaches an almost meditative state.

The above research shows that through flotation therapy, the body experiences medicinal benefits that help to deal with the problems.

The human body is naturally wired to react with a fight-or-flight response, but the flotation therapy is a ‘relaxation response method’ (RR) which takes the body into a deep sense of relaxation that helps to relieve and combat stress.


Floatation therapy is gaining prominence as an alternative medical treatment. In North America, there are float spas that conduct these sessions for patients.