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Science of floating

There’s a wealth of scientific evidence on the benefits of floating on the body and mind. Here are some key points from decades of research

A recent meta-analysis of 27 scientific studies by scientists Dierendonck and Nijenhuis showed that floating:

Reduces cortisol levels (when high, cortisol can lower our immunity and leads to prolonged stress)

Lowers blood pressure (a symptom of stress that compromises our health. Lower blood pressure allows us to feel relaxed)

Increases overall wellbeing

Boosts cognitive performance

Improves symptoms of chronic fatigue and burnout, and

Improves sleep


Floating and the brain

Justin Feinstein, head neurophysicist at Ohio’s Laureate Institute for Brain Research, the leading authority on floating and the brain, discovered that floating decreases activity in the brain’s salience network, which:

Reduces anxiety

Reduces negative emotions

Reduces the perception of pain

Reduces confusion, and

Reduces the impact of many serious mental health issues.

The Institute’s latest study on floating also found that:

“Participants reported significant reductions in stress, muscle tension, pain, depression and negative affect, accompanied by a significant improvement in mood characterised by increases in serenity, relaxation, happiness and overall well-being.”

Find Feinstein’s work in full on his website, and watch him speak about his findings at the 2016 Float Conference.


Floating for stress and pain reduction

The Human Performance Laboratory at Sweden’s Karlstad University has been studying the effects of floating for three decades, finding that floating:

  • Improves sleep

  • Increases energy (not only through better sleep, but also by increasing production of the hormone prolactin)

  • Increases optimism and mindfulness

  • Decreases anxiety and stress

  • Decreases depression

  • Decreases the perception of pain

They also found that after floating, people were less likely to consume alcohol.


There is far more research into floating than we can fit here, but in a nutshell, floating is scientifically proven to have significant, positive, and lasting impacts on our minds and bodies. As more studies are carried out, we’ll share them with you.

If you’re working on the science of floating, do get in touch – we’re already in contact with scientists in this field, and are keen to support and learn about new research.

Discover the Floatworks Journal

08 September 2021

Forest of Floatworks