Float therapy is a self-care tool used to achieve wellness, relaxation, pain relief and better sleep. Whether you are using flotation therapy as a means of meditation, creativity, or rest and recovery, there are a wide range of benefits that are difficult to get anywhere else.
We live very busy lifestyles. Our brains are always on, processing massive amounts of information. We are in constant motion navigating the hustle bustle of our days. When you are in a floatation tank, you Unplug. Experiencing a complete lack of stimuli is nearly impossible to reach unless you participate in R.E.S.T (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) which allows you to focus inward. Floating suppresses your sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your “fight or flight” and stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation, healing, and renewal.
It is also important to note that floating decreases blood pressure, which in turn helps maintain cardiovascular health, and increases dopamine levels, the neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.
Because of the anti-gravity environment, floatation therapy has been found to be beneficial in easing chronic pains such as neck and low back pain, as well as spinal misalignments. Clients with Fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis may find the decreased pressure on joints will help reduce pain responses.
Floating is a meditative way to bring greater awareness to various patterns of behavior. It has shown excellent results with smoking cessation and weight management. Due to the effect of increased dopamine levels, many clinical studies have been conducted using floating to help decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
From managing chronic stress and inducing a natural calm, to facilitating introspection and identifying various less-serving modes of thinking, many people report drastically improved sleep function. Floatation tanks have seen much success as an aid to those with insomnia or other sleep disorders. The sensory deprivation allows the brain a quiet time, aiding those who find it difficult to enter this period naturally. Floating can even be used to alleviate feelings of “jet-lag” caused by time-zone changes or reset sleep schedules for those needing to maintain a healthy level of sleep.
Optimal performance, prevention of injury, and reduced healing time are main concerns for all athletes. Floatation therapy provides a stress-free and natural healing environment for this to happen. The density of the Epsom salt is a natural anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxer, and puts the body into a state of total relaxation which allows the body to heal itself.
Recent research conducted at the University of Illinois has revealed that floating has a “significant impact on blood lactate (37% reduction) and perceived pain compared with a 1-hour passive recovery session”. This shows that floatation is a valuable tool for those training intensely and with the essential need for faster recovery to maintain optimum performance levels. For those training for ironmans, marathons, or Ski-to-Sea, it is a highly enjoyable, proven method for aiding in your recovery and keeping you at your peak.
When you are floating in a tank, you brain is able to enter different brain wave states. During daily activities, our dominant brain wave is Beta, when we rest, our brains slow down to the Alpha brain wave, and when we sleep we are in a Delta wave.
It is in a sensory deprivated environment that we are able to reach one of the most beneficial brain wave ranges: the Theta brain wave. The Theta state is a somewhat dreamlike state that most people only experience when on the cusp of sleep or right after waking in the morning. These lower frequency brain waves, primarily generated by the right hemishpere (the hemisphere associated with creative, non-linear thought), have been called the “state of inspiration” and there is both anecdotal and scientific evidence to support an increase in feelings of creativity accompanying this type of brain waves.
Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, has been used for hundreds of years to help soothe aching muscles, relieve skin problems, and reduce stress. Epsom salt helps increase the amount of magnesium in the body, resulting in an increase in the amount of serotonin produced by the brain. The increase in serotonin creates a feeling of relaxation and well-being. Increasing magnesium levels in the body also improves heart health, lowers blood pressure, and improves absorption of nutrients.