In a time where stress levels of young people are on the rise, the need to directly teach students how to manage stress and feel good is paramount. Float therapy has been proven to relieve stress of all kinds through REST, or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy.
What Float Therapy does
By being suspended in a shallow Epsom salt saturated solution heated to skin temperature, float therapy provides the user with a completely stress-free environment. This solution allows for buoyancy that enables anyone to safely float without any effort required.
The float tank provides a space free of external stimuli, and it transitions your body from its state of constant arousal to a state of deep relaxation. It has been suggested that a one-hour float session has effects that are equal to four to eight hours of deep sleep. In other words, floating for one to two hours will make you feel as relaxed as if you have had a full night’s sleep. Read more about how float therapy works here.
How Float Therapy relieves stress
Stress distracts. It takes away from the ability to be mindful and aware.
Floatation is proven to relieve stress through the removal of outside stimuli and gravity, thereby inducing a state of extreme relaxation. The tank removes you from all stressors, which slows your brain and body down and returns your body’s chemistry to a normal state.
The experience of floating helps end the cycle of stress and stress reaction. The extreme relaxation of floating also lowers cortisol, the stress hormone that causes anxiety as well as weight gain, and your brain starts releasing endorphins, the hormone in the body that makes you feel good.
How Float Therapy enhances learning
Floating allows areas of the brain which are always in use when awake and fighting gravity to be liberated from their work. Tests have shown that there is a drop in electrical activity of the brain and you begin to generate theta brain waves, which are associated with deep relaxation.
Also coined as ‘training wheels for meditation’, float therapy allows even first time floaters to meditate effortlessly as the brain automatically slips into the theta brain wave state, which normally is only achievable after many years of meditation practice.
The deep relaxation during floating coupled with removal of stimuli also induces a balance between the left and right brain. There is a shift from the normally dormant left side of the brain (logical, analytical, rational) to the right side (intuition, mental clarity and creativity).
For the first time both sides of the brain are in harmony and the balance creates allows you to use huge amounts of previously unavailable brainpower.
Research into floatation therapy in the USA at Ohio State University has shown to improve creativity in Jazz musicians, accuracy in rifle shooting, focus before academic examinations and stress relief, among others.
Why students should float
Students commonly face many stressors in their day to day lives, ranging from assignments, exams, personal relationships, juggling school, sports and various other activities and demands.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, have anxiety, lose sleep, and perspective.
Feelings of stress and anxiety are a part of life. Some levels of stress can actually be good for us, as the right kind of stress encourages us toward change and growth. However, when stress and anxiety exist for an extended period of time, they can become a burden or even a health risk.
Moreover, children’s and young people’s minds are becoming increasingly crowded by technology, making it more important than ever to integrate alternative strategies that help calm the mind.
“Twenty years ago, when children walked to school they would be looking around and stopping to look at a dog, or watching out for puddles. Now they are plugged in and receiving multiple inputs from a range of sources on their phones like news. Their headspace can be so chaotic and full” (Herald Sun).
Progressive schools in Victoria recently started implementing wellbeing and mindfulness programs teaching students how to meditate and are already reporting positive results, with improved academic learning, classroom dynamics and student confidence.
Floatation can provide an effective solution to all of the above.
The environment of the float tank is excellent for achieving deep states of relaxation, equivalent to many hours of deep meditation and even sleep. Perfect during exam times and for those with a busy schedule.
Floatation can help students leave feeling stress-free and ready to accomplish difficult papers and exams.
It will help disconnect young people from the constant sensory overload and help develop skills and strategies to deal with challenging situations.
It can help them recognise and understand feelings of stress and anxiety and learn how to manage them so that they don’t become overwhelming.
After your float, you will enjoy the calmness and clarity of your thoughts. You will feel your senses are honed and it will leave you able to focus on what is important for you. There is no noisy brain, only a simplicity and softness that guides you towards a more productive and enjoyable purpose.