Literature Review / Studies on Flotation Therapy


o Focus for Study 1- to explain the effects of flotation therapy on stress-related pain




Ø  This study aimed to investigate long-term effects of the flotation-REST (restricted environmental stimulation technique) four months after treatment.


Ø  Sample Size (N): 70 patients, 54 women and 16 men, participated, diagnosed as having stress-related pain.


Ø  26 participants had also the diagnosis of burnout depression.


Ø  Participants were randomly assigned in equal numbers to either a control group or a flotation-REST group and participated in a total of 12 flotation-REST or control sessions.


Ø  Results:  Results indicated that pain areas, stress, anxiety, and depression decreased, whereas sleep quality, optimism, and prolactin increased.


Ø  Positive effects generally maintained 4 months after treatment, but prolactin returned to initial levels.


Ø  Conclusion: It was concluded that flotation tank therapy is an effective method for the treatment of stress related pain.


Ø  Web Link:




Ø  Reference:


Bood et al. (2006). Eliciting the Relaxation Response With the Help of Flotation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique) in Patients With Stress-Related Ailments. International Journal of Stress Management, Vol 13, No. 2. 154-175.











o   Focus for Study 2 – Effects of Flotation Therapy on Depression, Burn- Out Syndrome and Chronic Pain




Ø  A qualitative analysis (The Empirical Phenomenological Psychological method) of interviews involving 8 patients (depression, burn-out syndrome, and chronic pain) was carried out in order to obtain knowledge regarding the effects of flotation tank therapy.


Ø  This knowledge might be helpful for both professionals and potential floaters.



Ø  DATA: The analysis resulted in 21 categories, which were summarized as four themes: (a) experiences during flotation, (b) perceived effects afterwards, (c) technical details, and finally (d) the participants' background, motivation, and expectations.


Ø  RESULTS: Floating was perceived as pleasant. An altered state of consciousness was induced, varying from a milder state including profound relaxation and altered time perception, to more powerful with perceptual changes and profound sensations such as out-of-body experiences and perinatal experiences.


Ø  Web Link:




Ø  Reference:


Kjellgren, A., Lyden, F., Norlander, T. (2008). Sensory Isolation in Flotation Tanks: Altered States of Consciousness and Effects on Well-being [Abstract]. The Qualitative Report, Vol 13, No. 4. 636-656.















o Focus for Study 3- Value of Flotation Therapy as Stress- Management Tool


§  Study #3 – The Value of Flotation Therapy as a Stress- Management Tool


Ø  In this study, they investigated the value of flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) as a stress-management tool.


Ø  Dr. Dierendonck focused on the physiological effects of REST, its influence on well-being, and on performance.


Ø  27 studies published in 25 articles were included in a meta-analysis.


Ø  Sample Size (N= number of participants): 449, with a mean age of 29 years (ranging between 20 and 45). 64% was male and 36% was female.


Ø  Results: The results showed that REST has positive effects on physiology (e.g., lower levels of cortisol, lower blood pressure), well-being, and performance. The pre-post mean effect size and the overall randomized control group effect size were relatively strong.


Ø  This suggests that despite some limitations of the original studies, flotation REST can be a useful stress management tool in addition to or instead of other stress management tools.


Ø  Web Link:



Ø  Reference:


Dierendonck, D.V., Nijenhuis, J.T. (2005) Flotation restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) as a stress-management tool: A meta-analysis [Abstract]. Psychology and Health. 20(3). 405-412.
















o Focus for Study 4- Effects on Sensory Isolation as a Preventative Health- Care Intervention


§  Study #4 - Sensory Isolation as a Method of Preventative Health-Care Prevention


Ø  Background: Sensory isolation in a flotation tank is a method known for inducing deep relaxation and subsequent positive health effects for patients suffering from (e.g. stress or muscle tensions pains).


Ø  Very few studies have investigated this method as a preventive health-care intervention.


Ø  The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects in healthy participants after receiving a series of flotation tank treatment.


Ø  Sample Size (N): 65 participants (14 men and 51 women)


Ø  Methods: 65 participants who were all part of a cooperative-health project initiated by their individual companies, were randomized to either a wait-list control group or a flotation tank treatment group where they participated in a 7- week flotation program with a total of 12 flotation sessions.


Ø  Data: Questionnaires measuring psychological and physiological variables such as stress and energy, depression and anxiety, optimism, pain, stress, sleep quality, mindfulness, and degree of altered states of consciousness were used.


Ø  Measurements: Data were analyzed by two-way mixed MANOVA and repeated measures ANOVA.


Ø  Results: Stress, depression, anxiety, and worst pain were significantly decreased whereas optimism and sleep quality significantly increased for the flotation-REST group.


·      No significant results for the control group were seen.

·      There was also a significant correlation between mindfulness in daily life and degree of altered states of consciousness during the relaxation in the flotation tank.


Ø  Conclusions: It was concluded that flotation-REST has beneficial effects on relatively healthy participants.


Ø  Web Link:


Ø  Reference:

Kjellgren, A., Westman, J. (2014). Beneficial effects of treatment with sensory isolation in flotation-tank as a preventive health-care intervention - a randomized controlled pilot trial [Abstract]. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 14:417.

o Focus for Study 5-  Effects of R.E.S.T. on Emotional, Cognitive, Behavioral, and Psycho- Physiological Function


·      Study #5 – Changes in Emotional, Cognitive, Behavioral, and Psycho- Physiological Function as the effects of two related techniques (Chamber and Flotation R.E.S.T.)


Ø  Data: Basic research has documented reliable changes in emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and psycho-physiological functioning as the effects of two related techniques that drastically reduce the level of environmental stimulation: chamber and flotation restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST).


Ø  Results/ Findings: Studies applying these findings in medical, psycho- therapeutic, and behavioral health contexts have shown reductions in stress and inappropriate behavior among patients suffering from drug-induced mania, agitation, autism, and Alzheimer's syndrome.


v Studies applying these findings in psycho- therapeutic and behavioral health contexts have shown reduced phobic symptoms significantly lower relapse in habit modification interventions (e.g. Smoking, alcohol intake, and weight loss); improved stress management and the amelioration of tension headaches, insomnia, and other stress-related symptoms; reduction of chronic pain; and better muscle control among cerebral palsy patients and others.


Ø  Conclusion: The broad benefits of chamber and flotation-rest, used alone or in combination with other intervention techniques, warrant further investigation and clinical use.


Ø  Web Link:



Ø  Reference:


Suedfeld, P., Borrie, R.A. (1999). Health and Therapeutic Applications of Chamber and Flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) [Abstract]. Psychology and Health. Vol. 14. pp. 545-566.