First in Float Research
The Laureate Institute for Brain Research is home to the world’s first research laboratory, the Float Clinic and Research Center (FCRC) investigating the effects of Floatation therapy on both the body and the brain, as well as exploring its potential as a therapeutic treatment for improving mental health and well-being in individuals with various forms of psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, or eating disorders.
The FCRC is now directed by Dr. Sahib Khalsa following the departure of Dr. Justin Feinstein from LIBR, and it is in its 5th year of operation. Initial studies published in 2018 found that floating appears to quickly reduce levels of stress, muscle tension, and blood pressure in individuals with anxiety and depression. A study published in 2020 led by Dr. Khalsa found floating to be safe in outpatient individuals with eating disorders, and lowered levels of anxiety, stress, and blood pressure, as well as improved body image. A study published in 2021 led by Dr. Feinstein found patterns of reduced functional connectivity between region of the brain involved in mapping body sensation and self-representation in healthy individuals. This study provides the first functional neuroimaging evidence of the effects of floating on brain function.
Ongoing Clinical Trials
Building from this base of knowledge, ongoing clinical trials are examining the potential therapeutic impact of Floatation therapy on several psychiatric conditions.
The first study is an NIH-funded clinical trial led by Dr. Khalsa investigating the feasibility and tolerability of floatation therapy as a technique for reducing anxiety and depression in individuals with high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Despite the Covid pandemic, the study recently completed the primary data collection phase and has entered the analysis phase.
The second study is a LIBR-funded clinical trial led by Dr. Khalsa investigating the efficacy of floatation therapy as a technique for reducing body image disturbance and anxiety in individuals with individuals with anorexia nervosa hospitalized for inpatient treatment at the Laureate Eating Disorders Program. This study is conducted in partnership with Dr. Scott Moseman, the medical director of the Laureate Eating Disorders Program, and the clinical staff from the program. The primary data collection phase is also complete, and the study has now entered the analysis phase. Results from both studies will be reported in the upcoming year, so please stay tuned for further updates.