Does spending time in a float tank change your perception of your body? One of the most fascinating and exciting pieces of research to come out on sensory deprivation suggests that it can. Many people who are interested in floatation-REST (restricted environmental stimulation therapy) are already aware of the practice’s benefits for mood, focus, and sleep. However, there’s now evidence that flotation-REST may also be beneficial for people who are struggling with negative body perception. Researchers recently looked at the impact of floatation therapy on body image and anxiety in anorexia nervosa using a randomized clinical efficacy trial.

What the Research Says About Float Tanks and Body Perception

According to data published in 2023, Floatation-REST was found to decrease body dissatisfaction compared to standard care methods dramatically after each float session. Even more exciting is the fact that the benefits were still in place when researchers followed up six months later. Researchers now believe that flotation-REST can potentially be used to treat body-image disturbances.

Using Floatation to Improve Body Perception

This news is something that anyone who has struggled with maintaining positive body perception can get excited about. It’s long been known that flotation-REST can be beneficial for individuals suffering from anxiety disorders. For people who suffer from anxiety tied to body dissatisfaction, the possibility of getting long-term relief using a relatively short treatment opens up new horizons. Someone who is struggling with intense feelings of body dissatisfaction may be feeling frustrated with “talk” therapy that requires them to spend time focusing on the topic with outsiders. The intimate and private nature of flotation-REST can be a welcome alternative for someone who feels self-conscious when it comes to discussing the topic.

How Much Time in a Float Tank Is Necessary to Create Positive Results?

The study mentioned above used a treatment plan that involved twice-weekly 60-minute sessions for four weeks. However, previous studies done on the benefits of flotation-REST for improving mental health found that a single one-hour session was capable of inducing a strong reduction in anxiety. While results for improving body perception may be produced cumulatively with several sessions, it’s not very far of a leap to assume that even a single session could help ease negative perceptions that are causing anguish or anxiety.

The Implications for People Who Are Struggling With Negative Body Perception

For people who are struggling with body image and body perceptions, flotation-REST may be an alternative way to get relief from intense negative feelings and anxiety. While spending time in a sensory deprivation tank should not be looked at as a “quick fix” for treating a serious eating disorder or case of body dysmorphia, the newest research sheds light on the way spending time in a flotation tank can help to positively rewire the brain.