Float Therapy provides a dampening effect through Sensory Deprivation.
Autism is a tricky description. We think we know what it looks like, but the more we try to pinpoint it, we can’t. That’s because there are so many forms of autism. In fact, it is often called the autism spectrum, meaning a person could fall anywhere on a pretty large scale. Autism is often “characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and non-verbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences”. It is believed to be caused by both genetic and environmental circumstances.
Difficulty with communication and having a different way of processing the world can lead to sensory overload. Even for someone without these challenges, you can be easily overstimulated by today’s technologically engaged way of life.
Sensory Deprivation helps achieve relaxation and mental focus.
So how does floating come in to all of this? Well, the whole concept of floatation therapy is sensory deprivation. Being able to float, alone, without external stimulation in complete silence helps the floater achieve deep relaxation and enter what is almost a dreamlike state. The only difference is that the person is still in control, an ideal state of mind for someone who suffers from autism.
A study was done over the course of a year and a half on a 24 year old woman who was diagnosed with autism (among other disorders). After attending weekly floating sessions throughout that time, she noted that she felt an improvement in her quality of life and a noticeable decrease of depression and anxiety. Even after the study was done, she continued to attend these sessions and even reported quitting smoking and not feeling the need for medication.
While floating and its effects are still not commonly known, these findings are more than promising. To know that something as simple as floating solo in Epsom salt water can bring so much change to a life that faces more challenges than most is certainly a bright light in an area that was previously bleak.