5 Controversial Techniques for Managing Stress

Discover 5 controversial techniques for managing stress, from deep breathing exercises to experimental therapies. Find what works best for you.


Stress is a common experience that can have detrimental effects on both our mental and physical health. It is a natural response to demanding situations, but when left unmanaged, chronic stress can lead to various health problems such as anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and even cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is crucial to find effective ways to manage and reduce stress in our daily lives.

In this article, we will explore five controversial techniques for managing stress. These techniques have gained attention and sparked debates among experts in the field of stress management. Each technique offers a unique approach to stress relief, and while some people swear by their effectiveness, others remain skeptical of their benefits. It is important to note that these techniques may not be suitable or effective for everyone, and seeking professional guidance is always advised before attempting any new stress management technique.

Throughout this article, we will delve into the controversial aspects of each technique, discuss their potential benefits and drawbacks, and provide recommendations for incorporating them into a stress management routine. It is worth mentioning that personal experiences may vary, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it is important to explore different techniques and find what resonates best with your individual needs.

Before we dive into the specific techniques, it is essential to emphasize the importance of understanding stress and its impact on our well-being. By gaining insights into the mechanisms behind stress and its effects on our bodies, we can better appreciate the significance of finding effective stress management techniques. Additionally, it is crucial to remember that stress management is a multifaceted process, and no single technique can provide a complete solution. Rather, it is the combination of various strategies that can lead to effective stress reduction.

Now, let us explore the controversial techniques for managing stress and examine their potential benefits and drawbacks in more detail.

Technique 1: Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises are a commonly recommended technique for managing stress. This technique involves taking slow, deep breaths to promote relaxation and relieve tension in the body. Deep breathing is believed to activate the body’s natural relaxation response and help calm the mind.

Benefits of Deep Breathing

There are several benefits to practicing deep breathing exercises as a stress management technique. First and foremost, deep breathing can help reduce the physical symptoms of stress, such as rapid heart rate and shallow breathing. By slowing down the breath and taking in more oxygen, deep breathing can help lower blood pressure and promote a sense of calm.

In addition, deep breathing can help improve mental clarity and focus. When we are stressed, our thoughts can become scattered and it can be difficult to concentrate. Deep breathing exercises can help bring our attention back to the present moment and improve our ability to think clearly.

Controversy Surrounding Deep Breathing

Despite its widespread recommendation, deep breathing exercises as a stress management technique are not without controversy. Some critics argue that deep breathing exercises may not be effective for everyone and that the benefits may be overstated. They claim that while deep breathing may help in the short-term, it may not provide lasting relief from chronic stress or anxiety.

Furthermore, there is a debate about the best way to perform deep breathing exercises. Some experts recommend focusing on the diaphragm and taking slow, deep breaths, while others suggest breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. The varying recommendations can make it confusing for individuals who are just starting to practice deep breathing.

How to Practice Deep Breathing Exercises

To practice deep breathing exercises, find a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and take a few moments to focus on your breath. Begin by inhaling slowly through your nose, allowing your belly to expand as you fill your lungs with air. Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth, gently contracting your abdominal muscles to release the air.

Continue this deep breathing pattern for several minutes, gradually lengthening your inhales and exhales. As you breathe, try to focus your attention solely on your breath, letting go of any distracting thoughts or worries. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Deep Breathing

The benefits of deep breathing exercises can vary from person to person. Some individuals find that deep breathing helps them feel more relaxed and reduces stress levels. Others may not experience noticeable benefits or may find that the effects are short-lived.

It’s important to note that deep breathing exercises may not be a standalone solution for managing chronic stress or anxiety. They are most effective when combined with other stress management techniques, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and seeking support from loved ones or professionals.

In conclusion, deep breathing exercises can be a helpful technique for managing stress. While there may be controversies surrounding their effectiveness and the best way to perform them, deep breathing exercises offer a simple and accessible method for promoting relaxation and reducing the physical and mental symptoms of stress.

Technique 2: Sensory Deprivation Tanks

Sensory deprivation tanks, also known as isolation tanks or float tanks, have gained attention as a controversial technique for managing stress. These tanks are designed to create an environment of minimal sensory input, allowing individuals to experience a deep state of relaxation and introspection.

Explanation of Sensory Deprivation Tanks

Sensory deprivation tanks typically consist of a lightproof and soundproof tank filled with water. The water is heated to skin temperature and saturated with Epsom salt, enabling individuals to float effortlessly. The tanks are designed to eliminate external distractions and create an environment where individuals can disconnect from the outside world.

Controversial Nature of Sensory Deprivation Tanks

While many people find sensory deprivation tanks to be a beneficial tool for stress management, there are several controversial aspects associated with their use. One concern is the potential for anxiety or claustrophobia to arise when enclosed in a confined space. Some individuals may feel uncomfortable or fearful during their first few sessions in the tank. It is important to consider personal comfort levels and seek guidance if necessary.

Additionally, there have been debates around the long-term effects of frequent use of sensory deprivation tanks. Critics argue that extended periods of sensory deprivation may lead to a disconnection from reality or altered perceptions. However, research in this area is limited, and there is a lack of concrete evidence supporting these claims.

Potential Benefits and Concerns

Proponents of sensory deprivation tanks claim that the experience can have several benefits for managing stress. The deep state of relaxation achieved in the tank can reduce muscle tension, lower blood pressure, and promote the release of endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. Furthermore, sensory deprivation tanks provide a unique opportunity for individuals to introspect and explore their thoughts and emotions without external distractions.

However, it is important to approach sensory deprivation tanks with caution. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy or open wounds, should avoid using the tanks. Additionally, pregnant women and those with cardiovascular issues should consult their healthcare provider before attempting sensory deprivation. Safety precautions, such as proper hygiene and maintenance of the tanks, should also be taken into consideration to prevent the spread of infections.

Tips for Safely Using Sensory Deprivation Tanks

To ensure a safe and pleasant experience when using sensory deprivation tanks, consider the following tips:

  1. Research reputable facilities: Look for well-established centers that prioritize cleanliness, adhere to safety guidelines, and have trained staff.
  2. Consult with a healthcare professional: If you have any underlying health concerns, it is wise to seek medical advice before using a sensory deprivation tank.
  3. Start with short sessions: If you are new to sensory deprivation tanks, begin with shorter sessions, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable.
  4. Find the right position: Experiment with different positions to find what works best for you. Some individuals prefer floating on their back, while others may find more comfort in a fetal position.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques: Before entering the tank, practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to enhance the experience.

Remember, everyone’s experience with sensory deprivation tanks may vary. It is essential to listen to your body and prioritize your well-being throughout the process.

Technique 3: Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy, a controversial technique for managing stress, involves exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures for a short period of time. This treatment has gained popularity in recent years, with proponents claiming various benefits for both physical and mental health.

Explanation of Cryotherapy and how it works

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, typically involves stepping into a chamber or tank that emits extremely cold air or liquid nitrogen vapor. The temperature in the chamber can reach as low as -200 degrees Fahrenheit (-130 degrees Celsius). The individual remains in the chamber for a few minutes, usually between 2 to 4 minutes.

The theory behind cryotherapy is that exposing the body to such cold temperatures triggers multiple physiological responses. The cold temperature is believed to constrict blood vessels and decrease blood flow to the extremities. As a result, blood is redirected to vital organs, leading to increased circulation and oxygenation.

Controversy surrounding Cryotherapy as a stress management technique

While some individuals swear by cryotherapy as an effective stress management technique, others remain skeptical due to its controversial nature. Critics argue that the supposed benefits of cryotherapy for stress relief may be exaggerated or unsupported by scientific evidence.

Additionally, there are concerns about the potential risks and side effects associated with cryotherapy. Exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures can lead to frostbite, burns, or skin irritation if safety precautions are not followed or if an individual has certain medical conditions, such as Raynaud’s disease or hypertension.

Discussion of potential benefits and risks of undergoing Cryotherapy

Proponents of cryotherapy claim that it can help reduce stress by promoting the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. The extreme cold exposure may also trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, which can lead to a sense of euphoria and stress reduction.

However, the evidence supporting these claims are still limited and largely anecdotal. More research is needed to determine the true effectiveness of cryotherapy as a stress management technique.

In terms of risks and side effects, while cryotherapy is generally considered safe when performed by trained professionals, there are still potential dangers. It is crucial to follow safety guidelines and seek professional advice before undergoing cryotherapy. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as claustrophobia, cold intolerance, or pregnancy, should avoid cryotherapy or consult with their healthcare provider.

Considerations for incorporating Cryotherapy into a stress management routine

If a person is considering incorporating cryotherapy into their stress management routine, it is essential to do thorough research and consider the following:

  1. Safety: Choose a reputable cryotherapy center that follows proper safety protocols and has trained professionals overseeing the sessions.

  2. Consultation: Speak with a healthcare provider before undergoing cryotherapy, especially if there are any existing medical conditions or concerns.

  3. Timing and frequency: Determine the optimal frequency and duration of cryotherapy sessions. It is important not to overdo it, as excessive exposure to cold temperatures can lead to adverse effects.

  4. Individual response: Pay attention to how the body responds to cryotherapy. Some individuals may find it helpful for stress management, while others may not experience significant benefits. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly.

Always remember that cryotherapy should not be seen as a standalone solution for managing stress. It is best to combine it with other evidence-based stress management techniques, such as exercise, meditation, and therapy, for a holistic approach to stress reduction.

Overall, while cryotherapy may offer potential benefits for stress management, it is essential to approach it with caution, seek professional guidance, and consider individual circumstances before incorporating it into a stress management routine.

Technique 4: Floatation Therapy

Floatation therapy, also known as sensory deprivation or isolation tank therapy, is a controversial technique for managing stress. In this technique, individuals float in a tank or pool filled with a concentrated solution of Epsom salt and water, creating buoyancy. The tank is designed to minimize external sensory inputs, providing a unique sensory experience.

The controversy surrounding floatation therapy stems from the unconventional nature of the practice and varying opinions on its effectiveness. Critics argue that the therapeutic benefits claimed by proponents of floatation therapy are not supported by sufficient scientific evidence. However, many individuals who have tried this technique report positive outcomes in terms of stress reduction and relaxation.

One of the potential benefits of floatation therapy for stress management is its ability to induce deep relaxation. The reduced sensory input helps individuals achieve a state of physical and mental calmness. The warm water and weightlessness experienced during the floatation session have been found to release muscle tension and promote a sense of relaxation.

Another potential benefit is that floating in the tank can help individuals disconnect from the outside world and foster introspection. With no distractions, individuals have the opportunity to focus on their thoughts and feelings, promoting self-reflection and mindfulness. This can be particularly helpful for those who struggle with chronic stress or anxiety.

However, there are also some concerns associated with floatation therapy. Some individuals may find the experience claustrophobic or uncomfortable, especially if they have a fear of enclosed spaces. Additionally, maintaining hygiene in the tanks is crucial, as improper disinfection may lead to the spread of infections. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the floatation therapy center you choose follows strict sanitation protocols.

If you are interested in trying floatation therapy for stress management, here are some tips to consider:

  1. Research reputable floatation therapy centers: Look for centers that have positive reviews and follow best practices for hygiene and safety. Ask about their equipment maintenance and cleaning procedures.

  2. Familiarize yourself with the process: Before your session, make sure you understand how floatation therapy works. Read about what to expect during the session, including the use of earplugs and the duration of the float.

  3. Set an intention: Before entering the tank, take a moment to set an intention or focus on a specific issue or emotion you’d like to explore or alleviate. This can enhance the therapeutic benefits of the experience.

  4. Practice relaxation techniques: If you find it challenging to relax initially, try incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualization into your floatation session.

  5. Take your time afterwards: After your float session, give yourself some time to adjust back to the outside world. Spend a few minutes sitting or lying down, allowing yourself to integrate the experience before rushing into your daily activities.

Floatation therapy may not be suitable for everyone, and it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any controversial stress management techniques. They can provide guidance based on your individual needs and medical history.

Floatation therapy can be a unique and potentially beneficial technique for managing stress. its effects can vary from person to person. By approaching floatation therapy with an open mind and ensuring a safe and reputable environment, you may discover it as a valuable addition to your stress management routine.

Technique 5: Experimental Therapies (e.g. Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy)

Experimental therapies, such as psychedelic-assisted therapy, have gained attention as potential options for managing stress and other mental health conditions. These therapies involve the controlled use of psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) or MDMA (also known as ecstasy), combined with psychotherapy sessions. While controversial, these therapies have shown promising results in recent studies.

Introduction to experimental therapies for stress management

Experimental therapies encompass a range of unconventional approaches that aim to alleviate stress and improve mental well-being. These therapies often involve the use of substances like psilocybin or MDMA, which can induce altered states of consciousness and promote introspection.

Controversies surrounding the use of experimental therapies

The use of psychedelic substances in therapy is controversial for several reasons. One major concern is the potential for misuse or recreational use of these substances outside of professional therapeutic settings. Additionally, the long-term effects and safety of these substances are not yet fully understood, and there are legal and ethical considerations surrounding their use.

Potential benefits of participating in experimental therapies

Research suggests that psychedelic-assisted therapy may offer several potential benefits for stress management. These therapies have been found to show promise in treating conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression, which are often closely linked to stress. Participants in these therapies have reported profound and lasting changes in their mental well-being, often describing an increased sense of connectedness, personal insight, and spiritual experiences.

Risks and considerations of participating in experimental therapies

Although experimental therapies show promise, there are risks and considerations to be aware of. The use of psychedelic substances can potentially induce overwhelming or adverse psychological experiences, especially if not administered in a clinically controlled environment. These therapies are not suitable for everyone, particularly individuals with a history of psychosis or certain mental health conditions. Professional guidance and screening are essential to ensure safety and determine eligibility for participation.

Resources for exploring and considering experimental therapies

If you are interested in exploring experimental therapies for stress management, it is crucial to approach them with careful consideration and guidance. Several organizations and research institutions are actively studying these therapies and can provide information and resources. Examples include the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and the Beckley Foundation. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or therapist who specializes in these therapies to determine if they are suitable for your specific needs and circumstances.

In conclusion, experimental therapies, such as psychedelic-assisted therapy, offer an alternative approach to stress management that shows promise but remains controversial. While these therapies may have potential benefits, it is important to approach them with caution, seeking professional guidance and evaluation. As research in this field progresses, further understanding and refinement of these therapies may provide an additional option for individuals seeking effective stress management techniques.


In conclusion, managing stress is crucial for our overall well-being, and finding effective techniques that work for us individually is essential. In this article, we have explored five controversial techniques for managing stress: deep breathing exercises, sensory deprivation tanks, cryotherapy, floatation therapy, and experimental therapies.

Deep breathing exercises offer a simple yet powerful way to calm the mind and relax the body. However, the controversy lies in the belief that these exercises may be too simplistic or lacking scientific evidence to be effective for everyone. Despite this, many individuals have reported significant benefits from incorporating deep breathing into their stress management routine.

Sensory deprivation tanks, although gaining popularity, have stirred controversy due to concerns about safety and potential psychological effects. While some people find the experience to be incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating, others may find it uncomfortable or unsettling. It is important to approach sensory deprivation tanks cautiously and consult with professionals before trying them.

Cryotherapy involves exposing the body to extreme cold temperatures to promote various health benefits, including stress reduction. However, there is debate surrounding the safety and long-term effects of cryotherapy. It is important to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and consult with a healthcare professional before pursuing cryotherapy as a stress management technique.

Floatation therapy, also known as sensory deprivation float tanks, offers individuals a unique and calming experience by immersing them in a tank filled with Epsom salt-infused water. While many people find floatation therapy to be incredibly relaxing, some individuals may feel claustrophobic or have other concerns. It is essential to research reputable floatation therapy centers, follow safety guidelines, and listen to your body’s needs.

Experimental therapies, such as psychedelic-assisted therapy, are growing in popularity as potential tools for stress management. However, these therapies remain controversial due to legal and ethical concerns, as well as the limited scientific evidence available. If considering experimental therapies, it is crucial to research and work with reputable professionals in a controlled and responsible setting.

In navigating these controversial stress management techniques, it is important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another. It is essential to explore different techniques and find what best suits your individual needs. Additionally, seeking professional guidance before engaging in any controversial stress management technique is crucial to ensure safety and proper support.

Ultimately, the goal of managing stress is to improve our overall well-being. By being open to different techniques and approaches, we can find effective ways to reduce stress and enhance our mental and physical health.