The study was conducted at the Human Performance Laboratory at Karlstad University and was carried out in collaboration with the health authorities under the Varmland County Council.
It was authored by Sven-Ake Bood, who recently completed his doctorate in psychology, with a dissertation from Karlstad University in Sweden.
The research project took under four years for concluding and included 140 individuals, all with some form of diagnosis involving stress-related long-term pain.
The recent research also agrees with an earlier thesis that improved sleep patients feels more optimistic, and the content of the vitalizing hormone prolactin increases. Anxiety, stress, depression and perception of pain declines.
The research comprised four studies that involved the treatment of pain and stress-related disorders with the aid of a floating tank. A control group that was not treated in a floating tank experienced no improvement in their health. After a period of treatment lasting a total of seven weeks, 22 percent of the participants in the floating group were entirely free of pain, and 56 experienced a clear improvement. Nineteen percent felt no change and 3 percent felt worse. And the effect persists after the treatment is completed.
â€œThrough relaxing in floating tanks, people with long-term fibromyalgia, for instance, or depression and anxiety felt substantially better after only twelve treatments. Relaxing in a weightless state in the silent, warm floating tank activates the bodyâ€™s own system for recuperation and healing,â€ said Sven-Ake Bood.
â€œThe stress hormone decreases, as does blood pressure. The findings confirm and reinforce our earlier studies on the effects of relaxing in a floating tank
â€œThe treatment method can be used for several groups, such as people with whiplash injuries, fibromyalgia, depression, and long-term stress-related pain.
â€œWe can also see that a combination of treatment in a floating tank and traditional therapy can be effective. We are now moving on in our research and will be monitoring blood circulation in the capillaries, the oxygen uptake of the blood, and how the bodyâ€™s reflexes are affected,” he added.
The study has been published in the prestigious American publication International Journal of Stress Management .