More and more people today are hearing about “floating” and are asking questions. One of them being, “Can floating help me manage my work related stress?”. The short answer is, “Yes, most definitely!” The technique of floating (Flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy, aka. Flotation REST), when used routinely can reduce the severity of stress, and therefore improve your overall well-being and is a great supplement to enhancing other stress relieving techniques.
Let’s be real, there are lots of aspects of work that are exciting and challenging or fulfilling, but there are aspects of work that are downright stressful. Individual well being is something that businesses have become more aware of and concerned about in recent years. There are a lot of ingredients that go into the work-stress gumbo. Among many “variables identified are factors intrinsic to the job such as the amount of …physical and ergonomic work conditions, opportunities for career development, organizational culture and structural features of the organization such as tendency towards bureaucratization, and work-home interfaces” (De Dreu, Dierendonck, and Best-Waldhober, 2003). And like a good spicy dish of gumbo, work stress has some lovely after effects to remember it by, such as reduced well-being, burnout, reduced task performance, increased absenteeism and undesirable high levels of turnover, accidents, or reduced commitment. These negative effects of stress take a significant portion of our cognitive energy to manage and “impact the physiological system in a multitude of ways: adrenalin and cortisol levels go up, heartbeat accelerates, and muscle tension increases (De Dreu, Dierendonck, and Best-Waldhober, 2003). These heightened physiological markers, when sustained long term, contribute to chronic illness and are taxing to both the individual and business. Managing one’s ‘work-stress gumbo side-effects’ is a must in order to maintain achievement and physiological or psychological health. This can be achieved through a secondary prevention such as flotation REST.
Secondary preventions are a classification of reactive medicine where one aims to reduce the severity of stress symptoms before they lead to more serious health consequences, aka. stress management (Murphy, 2002). Flotation REST is a secondary prevention technique used to effectively manage stress and deal with diminished well-being (Murphy, 2002). Relaxation techniques of secondary preventions target reducing muscle tension, calming the mind, reducing symptoms of stress, and improving well-being. Flotation REST reduces the level of environmental stimulation to a bare minimum in order to relax the mind and creates a sense of weightlessness with a high salinity water solution to relax the body.
During a routine flotation REST session, participants lie in a quiet, dark tank or tub that is filled with water warmed to body temperature and saturated with Epsom salts. This solution allows a person to float lying face upward, with one’s face and abdominal portion of the body above the water line. The high saturation of salts make the water solution quite dense, which makes it difficult to accidentally roll over. This characteristic of floatation REST permits participants to safely daydream or sleep. The tank usually resembles a box, rounded ‘pod’, or large shallow tub, giving the option of enclosed or open. These environments create a completely dark and almost soundproof enclosure. A typical flotation session takes about 50 minutes.
- Flotation REST is “more effective” than “other stress reduction techniques, such as relaxation exercises, biofeedback or sitting comfortably on a couch” (Dierendonck and Nijenhuis, 2005).
- Flotation REST “has positive effects on outcomes relating to physiology, well-being, and performance” (Dierendonck and Nijenhuis, 2005).
- Flotation REST “has relaxing, mood-, and performance-enhancing effects that seem to be more profound than those of other relaxation techniques” (Dierendonck and Nijenhuis, 2005).
- The effects of flotation REST “on well-being found in the long-term studies suggest that the effects become stronger through repeated events (Dierendonck and Nijenhuis, 2005).
Flotation REST can provide you and your co-workers much needed relief for stress management. “Flotation therapy is an effective, non-invasive method for treating stress-related pain” (Bood, Sundequist, Kjellgren, Nordstrom, Norlander, 2005) and tension, and balance your mood and leave you feeling refreshed. You can benefit from routine floats at First Float by “increased well-being and relaxation, greater production of ideas, improved sleep at night, reduced stress, tension, and anxiety, reduced pain, lower blood pressure, and decreased muscle tension” (Bood, Sundequist, Kjellgren, Nordstrom, Norlander, 2005).
Here at First Float, we guarantee a reduction in stress. Our team’s business backgrounds range from leading teams in a fortune 100 company, building and selling businesses to research and customer service. We understand living in a state of stress and more importantly how to increase productivity by removing it. At First Float we tailor our recommendations towards your specific health needs and floatation expectations. Stop by today to get started in one of our multiple unique float tank environments.
Bood, S. A. MSc RN, Sundequist, U. MA, Kjellgren, A. Ph.D., Nordstrom, G. Ph.D., Norlander, T. Ph.D. (2005). Effects of flotation-restricted environmental stimulation technique on stress-related muscle pain: What makes the difference in therayu – attention-placebo or the relaxation response. Pain Res Manage Vol 10 No 4 Winter 2005. Pulsus Group Inc.
Dierendonck, D.V., and Nijenhuis, J. T. (2005). Flotation restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST) as a stress-management tool: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Health 20(3): 403-412. Taylor and Francis.
Murphy, L. R. (2002). Stress management at work
Warning: the following gumbo recipe borrowed from The Cozy Apron is beautiful, tantalizing, and has the potential to be extremely spicey. Like the chef’s husband, you may find yourself saying “Whoa…(surprise, with eyes tearing up)…honey, this tastes really good (cough)…wow…(clearing throat, getting slightly red in the face)…you weren’t playing around with this…(clearing throat again, getting progressively redder )…you made that SPICY!” Thankfully, if you are not a spice fan, this recipe gives you some room for personalization. You start off mild and then add as much spice as you dare.
Tell us what you think about this recipe or tell us how floating at First Float helped you settle your work-stress-gumbo side-effects!
“Gumbo-laya” Stew with Spicy Sausage, Chicken, Shrimp and Okra over Fragrant Garlic Rice
Yield: Serves about 6-8
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound spicy andouille (or smoked) sausage, sliced
- 8 chicken tenderloins (or 2 skinless/boneless chicken breasts), cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 large bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon, heaping, tomato paste
- ½ pound okra, sliced into ¼ – ½” thick slices
- 1 (28 oz) can organic diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 cups chicken stock, hot
- ½ pound peeled and cleaned, medium size shrimp (raw)
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- Fragrant Garlic Rice (recipe below)
-Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil;
-Once the oil is hot, add the sliced sausage in, and allow it to caramelize and brown for a few minutes; once well browned, remove the sausage from the pot, and set it aside for a moment;
-Next, add the chicken pieces into the pot along with a sprinkle or two of salt and pepper, and allow them to brown in the oil/sausage drippings for about 2-3 minutes; remove the chicken pieces from the pot, and set aside for a moment;
-Add in the diced celery, onion and bell pepper, and caramelize it for about 2-3 minutes in the oil, then add in the bay leaves, the Creole seasoning, the cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and stir to combine;
-Add in the garlic and stir, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the tomato paste, and cook for about 1 minute to cook out the “raw” tomato flavor;
-Next, add in the sliced okra, the diced tomatoes with juice, the hot chicken stock, and the browned sausage and chicken, and stir to combine, and allow the stew to simmer gently on low/medium-low, uncovered, for 20 minutes;
-Now, add in the shrimp (you can season it with a sprinkle of salt/pepper if you wish), and simmer for only 2 minutes more as to not overcook the shrimp;
-Finish by stirring in the chopped parsley and cilantro, and serve over the Fragrant Garlic Rice, with some additional spice/heat options like hot sauce, red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, if desired.
Fragrant Garlic Rice Ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 3 cups water
-Place a medium pot over medium-high heat, and add in the olive oil; once hot, add in the pressed garlic, and stir to combine; once the garlic becomes fragrant, add in the rice, the salt and the pepper and stir, and allow the rice to “toast” in the garlic oil for about 2 minutes;
-Next, add in the water, stir, and simmer the rice, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until tender; turn off the heat, and after 5 minutes, fluff with fork and serve.