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Floatation medical approach



Justin Feinstein, PhD - Clinical Neuropsychologist / Assistant Professor at the University of Tulsa

 and the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR) 

are carrying out some really exciting scientific studies on floating.

Their Research Approach ...

Their laboratory is interested in understanding the intimate connection between the body and the brain and developing new technologies to help bring this connection to the forefront of awareness. Utilising both the lesion method and functional neuroimaging, their research investigates how the human brain produces primal states of emotion, with an emphasis on the neuroscience of fear and treatments that alleviate anxiety. 

Every moment of the day, the brain is continuously infused with signals from the internal world of the body, especially the heart, lungs, gut, and immune system. The brain attempts to organise all of these signals into detailed body maps, essentially providing the brain with a snapshot of how the body is feeling, moment by moment. It has recently been discovered that disturbances in these body maps form the foundation for a number of psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, addiction, and anorexia. Their laboratory aims to correct these disturbances by experientially teaching patients how to consciously access their brain’s body maps. 

Since much of the processing that occurs inside these body maps is happening unconsciously, they are exploring several new approaches that can selectively enhance “interceptive awareness.” One approach involves specialised floatation environments, which are highly effective at removing the distractions from the external world so that patients can more clearly experience their internal world. Another approach involves real-time neurofeedback using fMRI and EEG, providing patients with the ability to literally view the brain activity inside their own body maps. Over time, and with repeated practice, these approaches offer patients the unique opportunity to reshape their internal experience.

The Main Question

Can an intervention that enhances present moment awareness for internal bodily sensations help patients with anxiety establish a healthier balance between their body and brain?


Future Directions

Develop floatation as an intervention approach for different mental illnesses including anxiety, addiction, and anorexia.


Use floatation to help patients disconnect from the outside world and reconnect to signals coming from the inside of their body. Waterproof and wireless physiological equipment will measure blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, movement, and EEG. Functional neuroimaging will be used to determine where these changes take place inside the brain.


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