Claustrophobia: Can I Still Try Floating?

Is claustrophobia holding you back from trying out the benefits of float therapy for yourself? We’ve found that claustrophobia is actually one of the most common fears people have when they consider floating. Here’s a closer look at this phobia, the benefits individuals with claustrophobia can enjoy when floating, and the best way to try floating if you’re worried about tight, enclosed spaces.

What is Claustrophobia?

According to Healthline, claustrophobia is a situational phobia that’s triggered by an intense, irrational fear of crowded or tight spaces. It can also include the fear of being suffocated. Situations that may trigger the phobia include being in a crowded elevator, staying in a windowless room, or even driving in a lot of traffic.

While claustrophobia isn’t a panic disorder, you still may feel like you’re going through a panic attack when it hits. Just a few of the symptoms of claustrophobia may include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling anxious
  • Sweating
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Hyperventilation
  • Hot flashes
  • Trembling
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Feeling disoriented
  • Feeling of intense panic or fear
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea

If you’re claustrophobic, you may find that you:

  • Feel scared that doors will close when you’re in a room
  • Try to avoid triggering situations, such as riding in elevators, subways, and airplanes
  • Stand as close to exits as possible when you’re in a crowded place
  • Compulsively look for the exit in any area you enter

The Benefits of Floating

Even if you deal with claustrophobia, there’s so much to gain from trying float therapy. Just a few of the benefits of floating include:

  • Reduced Anxiety– Studies have shown that floating helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders, and in one study on individuals with generalized anxiety disorder, 37% of participants saw full remission from their symptoms.
  • Pain Relief– For many people, float therapy offers a reduction in pain, and studies have found that this therapy has the ability to not only lower pain levels, but also reduce feelings of stress, and lower blood pressure levels.
  • Improved Energy Levels– Many people find that floating improves their energy levels. In fact, it’s so great at improving energy, productivity, and reducing stress that some workplaces encourage float therapy to increase well-being in the workplace and reduce sick-leave absences.

Other potential benefits of float therapy include:

  • Fewer headaches
  • Improved immune function
  • Reduction in muscle tension
  • Improved sleep
  • Help in overcoming addictions
  • Reduced depression

Float Therapy with Claustrophobia – Float Pools are the Answer

If you’ve been worried about climbing into a floating pod or float tank because you deal with claustrophobia, you have another option – float pools. While many float centers use tanks or pods with doors or lids that close, float pools are very different. Float pools are open pools that offer you plenty of open space for unrestricted floating. You’ll still enjoy all the benefits that come with float therapy without being in an enclosed, small space. These pools are in private, spacious float rooms, so you have quiet, privacy, and all the amenities needed to have an enjoyable, restorative experience.

“If I enjoyed cramped spaces, I’d probably take baths more often.  I almost didn’t give floating a chance because the idea of being shut in a pod makes me hyperventilate. Life Float’s mini pools are nice and large. I can starfish my body out without touching anything, and get blissed out.” -Mia H

Most people find that float pools don’t trigger their claustrophobia. However, if you do feel a bit anxious or you begin feeling a little claustrophobic while you’re floating, here are a few tips to help you cope.

  • Tip #1 – Breath deeply and slowly, counting to three as you breathe in and counting to three as you slowly breathe out.
  • Tip #2 – Repeatedly remind yourself that the feelings of anxiety and fear are going to pass.
  • Tip #3 – Focus your thoughts on something that is safe. Pay attention to the things around you to take your focus away from the feelings of claustrophobia.
  • Tip #4 – Try visualizing a moment or a place that makes you feel calm, happy, and safe.
  • Tip #5 – Challenging the trigger to the attack by repeating to yourself that you are safe and this fear is irrational.
  • Tip #6 – Use calming, slow self-talk to give yourself reassurance. I’m relaxing. It will pass. I’m letting these feelings go. I’m going to focus on relaxation as the feelings subside.
  • Tip #7 – Try physical relaxing techniques. Start with your feet and work your way up. Relax your feet and legs, letting them go weightless. Relax the arms and shoulders. Relax the forehead and jaw, letting your jaw go slack. Relax the eyes until they droop slightly.

Even if you struggle with claustrophobia, you can still enjoy all the benefits of float therapy with open float pools. In fact, many people actually find that floating actually reduces their anxiety and helps them better deal with claustrophobia. Don’t let claustrophobia hold you back – book your first float today.