The presence or absence of light during flotation restricted environmental stimulation: Effects on plasma cortisol, blood pressure, and mood

Abstract

This study examined the effect of light on relaxation associated with flotation restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST), as measured by plasma cortisol, mean arterial pressure, and psychometric parameters. Twenty-one subjects were paired by baseline cortisol levels into two groups: one experiencing flotation REST in the presence of light (REST-L) and one experiencing flotation REST in the absence of light (REST-D). Subjects were 15 male and 6 female students aged 22–28 in normal health who had not experienced REST. Repeated flotation REST (8 sessions) either with light or without light was associated with a decrease in plasma cortisol and a decrease in mean arterial pressure, with no differences in effectiveness between groups. The psychometric assessment of mood, using the POMS scale, before and after sessions 1 and 8 revealed mood state improvement in both REST-L and REST-D groups. These data suggest that the presence of light did not compromise the flotation REST experience, as evidenced by the lack of difference between REST-L and REST-D groups.

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Correspondence to John W. Turner Jr..

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Turner, J.W., Fine, T., Ewy, G. et al. The presence or absence of light during flotation restricted environmental stimulation: Effects on plasma cortisol, blood pressure, and mood. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation 14, 291–300 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00999120

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Descriptor Key Words

  • relaxation
  • cortisol
  • restricted environment
  • blood pressure
  • mood