Research on reduced environmental stimulation therapy and perceptual body image disturbance conducted by Oxley College of Health & Natural Sciences Associate Professor Sahib Khalsa has been featured in EClinicalMedicine, a specialty journal of The Lancet. Using a randomized clinical trial, Khalsa’s study aimed to determine whether REST via floatation could reduce the effects of anorexia nervosa (AN), a deadly psychiatric disorder that induces body image anxiety, in women.
“The study showed that after each floatation-REST session, participants in this group reliably had reduced body image dissatisfaction,” said Khalsa, who also serves as director of clinical operations at Laureate Institute for Brain Research. “Overall, these reductions remained six months after floatation-REST intervention. There were also large reductions in anxiety after each floatation-REST session.”
The Lancet is a weekly medical journal that publishes and promotes research from a broad range of research in the field of medicine. EClinicalMedicine is one of two open access journals that make up The Lancet’s Discovery Science series dedicated to covering topics spanning all medical specialties, including treatment and diagnosis, preventative care, and health policy and inequity. Their most recent research has focused on investigating the prevalence and impact of weight bias in health care and challenging preconceived notions about obesity.
“We are excited about the implication of these findings for two primary reasons,” Khalsa said. “First, perceptual body image is not typically addressed in traditional treatments for AN. Second, anxiety in AN is not well managed through medications that are usually effective, such as benzodiazepines. If floatation-REST can reliably improve body image and reduce anxiety in individuals with AN, there is potential to utilize it as an adjunctive treatment for AN and perhaps other eating disorders.”