How floating can help you stop smoking
A lot of research has been conducted over the years to determine the effectiveness of flotation tanks in treating addictive disorders. The use of float tanks has increased in recent years as the knowledge and understanding of the underlying processes to addictions has grown. The use of floating tanks as a form of therapy for smoking cessation is now well established in various places offering this form of therapy.
The science behind floating therapy
Floating has been proven to be a very powerful tool at overcoming addictive urges such as smoking. The scientific name for floating therapy is Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) and controlled studies have reported on its amazing results for smoking cessation.
When you float your brain produces theta waves, which have a shorter wavelength. You produce these naturally when you are asleep, but only for short durations. However when you are floating, your brain produces theta waves for a much longer period of time. This allows longer access to the deeper parts of your subconscious mind where addictions take root. The benefits of theta brain waves include the following:
All this is due to the fact that when you are floating you are cutting off all external sensory input into your brain. This in a way takes you into a place within yourself. Floating also promotes the release of endorphins which regulate your mood and creates the feelings of joy and happiness, commonly associated with drugs and alcohol effects. This is why floating has been so effective in treating other addiction related conditions other than smoking.
Dr. Peter Suedfeld on Behavior Modification via Chamber REST
How does floating aid smoking cessation?
Most people who have ever tried to quit smoking by going cold turkey can testify to the pain of the withdrawal symptoms. By using floating as a complementary therapy to stopping smoking it alleviates the pain associated with nicotine withdrawal. A typical floating session involves subliminal messages being played to you. These are very powerful because your brain activity has slowed down and you are more open to suggestions like “ I am a non-smoker”. Because all the external and distracting sensory inputs have been eliminated these suggestions will become deep seated within your subconscious brain. This will allow the information taken in to continue working from a deeper level even after the floating experience. You are no longer using just willpower to resist the urges to take up smoking again.
Are the effects lasting?
Controlled studies into the effectiveness of float tank therapy have shown that when used as a standalone intervention, 25% of people undergoing this therapy have abstained from smoking over a period of up to 5 years. It has found to be even more effective when combined with weekly support groups and up to 80% of people have remained smoke free over in just over 18 months.
There are other smoking cessation treatments available such as:
- Nicotine patches
- Antidepressants such as Zyban/Wellbutrin
The advantage that floating therapy has over all of these methods is that it is a natural and safe method. You do not experience any side effects as those experienced when you use antidepressants. The benefits of float tanks are:
- Floatation is a non invasive therapy
- The treatment is brief (a session is about an hour) though repeat sessions are often required to experience the optimum benefits
- Has a very low relapse rate
- It lifts the physical craving for nicotine and removes the aversive factor of physical withdrawal symptoms
What other benefits are there to floating?
In addition to the smoking cessation benefits, there are secondary benefits to be gained from floating therapy. Some of these benefits are listed below:
- Floating is a calming experience, creating feelings of calm, relaxation and peacefulness
- It is capable of relieving mental and physical stress, effects of jetlag and fatigue
- Promotes mental clarity by stimulating the creative centres of the brain increasing alertness, creativity, problem solving and expanding awareness
- Speeds up recovery from athletic injuries and also improves athletic performance and prevent sports injuries
- Because of its relaxing effects, this leads to a reduction in heart rate, blood pressure as the oxygen demands on the body are reduced as the body is no longer working against gravity. This also improves circulation.
This article shows the immense benefits of REST and how effective it is at aiding smoking cessation among other addictive behaviours.
So how could increased consumption of fruit and vegetables help people to quit smoking naturally?
- Less nicotine dependence.
- High fiber content makes people feel fuller – since smokers sometimes confuse hunger with smoking urges.
- Unlike meats, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages, fruit and vegetables don’t enhance and may even worsen the taste of tobacco.
- Engaging in a healthier lifestyle could consciously and subconsciously cause smokers to further shift out of an unhealthy lifestyle involving smoking.