“Andrew” is a real person, though that’s not his real name. Over the last two years he’s been clinically diagnosed with Treatment-Resistant Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, and Anxiety Disorder. He has worked with trauma therapists and all the resources in the Boston area, including MGH and McLean hospital. He’s even gone so far as to participate in clinical studies at MGH for current drug trials that are being studied for his particular diagnosis. To date, nothing has significantly improved his quality of life, and is left with very few options short of electroconvulsive therapy.
Float Boston — read the article
Float therapy helping veterans with PTSD
Local News 12 story on Army veteran Cody Austell
Michael is a former infantryman of the Royal Australian Regiment. In 2010 he was deployed to Afghanistan. After six months Michael was involved in an extended contact with highly trained Taliban insurgents known as the “Battle of Derapet.” It was during this battle that he witnessed the death of his mate “Crash,” following which he was later returned home with a diagnosis of Conversion Disorder, a physical manifestation of trauma and Post Traumatic Stress. The two and a half years following his return were a blur of prescription medications, alcohol abuse, depression, reliving his trauma for the sake of exposure therapy and navigating the frustrating system that is the Department of Veterans Affairs. There were plenty of ups & downs but with the unwavering support of his partner and family he was inspired to find new ways to approach mental health and post-traumatic stress.
Michael is currently a Mentor/ Facilitator with Trojan’s Trek and an active advocate for the use of alternative treatments for Service induced stress. His firsthand experience of war has given him a unique perspective for viewing the world. In March 2014 Michael started floating. After 6 months he had recognized such an improvement in his condition that they purchased and installed a second-hand float tank at home. He and his partner have been featured in the book “The Float Tank Cure” by Shane Stott and in an article about floatation in TIME magazine with Dr. Justin Feinstein and Professor Thomas Fine.
Time magazine article on Michael Harding, Float enthusiast, Veteran, and spokesperson on the benefits of floating. — read the article
“To me, it seemed like a sham,” Harding says. But in March last year, he decided to try it anyway. He fell asleep in the tank, he says, and woke up an hour later feeling refreshed. By three floats, Harding says his anxiety and hyper-vigilance had subsided. By three months of floating, so had his night sweats. “After floating, I was really mellowed out,” he says. “I’m not really sure how it does it, but I do know that floating has allowed me to feel in a more confident, comfortable headspace.” Michael Harding
Michael Harding and Bek Houghton – speaking at the 2016 Float Conference
Jeffrey Bruno is a float tank / REST (restricted environmental stimulation therapy) researcher, studying a range of neurological functions, but especially focusing on the Thalamus. He spoke at the 2014 Float Conference about the perception of pain, and about the mind’s reaction to that specific sensory input.
Jeffrey Bruno speaking at the 2014 Float Conference
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. National Institute of Mental Health, last revised February 2016.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey. Ronald C. Kessler, PhD; Amanda Sonnega, PhD; Evelyn Bromet, PhD; Michael Hughes, PhD; Christopher B. Nelson, MPH, PhD. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 1995.
- Transcendental Meditation in the Treatment of Post-Vietnam Adjustment. James S. Brooks, Thomas Scarano. Journal of Counseling & Development, November 1985.
- Meditation-based mantram intervention for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: A randomized trial. Jill E. Bormann; Steven R. Thorp; Julie L. Wetherell; Shahrokh Golshan; Ariel J. Lang. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, May 2013.
- Quality of life with flotation therapy for a person diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, atypical autism, PTSD, anxiety and depression. Anette Kjellgren, Hanna Edebol, Tommy Nordén, Torsten Norlander. Open Journal of Medical Psychology, 2013.
- Pathways for Veterans