Altered consciousness in flotation-REST and chamber-REST: Experience of experimental pain and subjective stress

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Anette Kjellgren
Ulf Sundequist
Ulla Sundholm
Torsten Norlander
Trevor Archer
Cite this article:  Kjellgren, A., Sundequist, U., Sundholm, U., Norlander, T., & Archer, T. (2004). Altered consciousness in flotation-REST and chamber-REST: Experience of experimental pain and subjective stress. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 32(2), 103-116.


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Twenty-three sportsmen were given one 45-minute exposure to flotation-REST and one exposure to chamber-REST on two occasions, incorporating random assignment to either flotation-REST followed by chamber-REST or vice versa. On each occasion, the Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) procedure was followed immediately by testing experimentally induced pain to one arm using a blood pressure cuff. It was found that flotation-REST induced a significantly higher degree of altered states of consciousness (ASC), as measured with an instrument assessing experienced deviation from normal state (EDN), than did chamber-REST. Participants experiencing High EDN in the flotation-REST condition reported higher levels of both “experienced pain” and “experienced stress” than did those experiencing Low EDN. These results suggest that the particular distinguishing features of flotation-REST and chamber-REST may cause selective deviations from normal levels of consciousness, under experimental conditions, that may underlie the subjective experience of pain and stress thresholds.
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Appreciation is due to anonymous reviewers.

Dr. T. Norlander, Department of Psychology, Karlstad University, SE-651 88 Karlstad, Sweden. Phone: 46-54-7001178; Fax: 46-54-839165; Email: [email protected]

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