Over the last 7 years of practice one thing has become more and more common. A major increase of people are turning to alternative therapy to help with everything from everyday stress to muscle aches, insomnia, anxiety and chronic pain. Most clients do not divulge their personal stories over the phone, but after 60 minutes in the float tank many new floaters like to chat for a few minutes. Some are curious about the "magic" that happens in the tank, but others want to share personal stories or their reason for seeking floatation.
Before we get much further into the science behind the effects of floating I’m going to take a few minutes to explain what floatation therapy is. Basically there is a pod or a room filled with around 250 gallons of warm water and 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. This creates a density similar to the Dead Sea. When people lay back in the water, they effortlessly float on top which allows the entire body to relax and decompress. A traditional float has no lights and no sound which allows the brain to literally slow down its brain waves. While this may sound like a lot at first, modern day float pods have different colors of dim light and you can even listen to relaxing music. This helps to meet people where they’re at--- it’s not very often that we can literally turn off all sensory input.
Most recently, we have started to see more people with an interest in floating for chronic pain as well as autoimmune diseases such as Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid arthritis. Float therapy can improve the lives of people with chronic pain and today specifically we will be focusing on Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is the most common musculoskeletal condition in the US after osteoarthritis. There are currently around 10 million people in the US diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, yet it is not well understood and is often misdiagnosed. People who have Fibromyalgia often experience: depression, decreased pain threshold, chronic pain and incapacitating fatigue. Here is the good news though...
Floating has been shown to enhance:
Endorphins- our body’s natural pain killers
Dopamine - associated with feelings of motivation
Serotonin- contributes to feelings of overall wellbeing and happiness, impacts sleep
Floating has also been shown to lower:
Adrenaline - "the fight or flight" hormone
Cortisol - a steroid hormone released in response to stress
Norepinephrine - a marker of nervous system stress
Floatation therapy is a wonderful, safe, natural way to reduce the long term effects of chronic disease. The above findings have been researched across the country and the Laureate Institute for Brain Research has spent a lot of time using Functional MRI’s during people’s floats to specifically map their brain and nervous system throughout a float. Floating really has shown to play a huge role in slowing down the brain’s waves to allow people to fall into a deep relaxation.
We all benefit when we find natural ways to manage our stress better! Our immune system gets a boost and we feel invigorated and revitalized overall.
This is a brief reaction from someone who floated at my previous office, “My experience with floating was incredible. I floated with no lights, no music and no expectations to get the most out of it. As a single mom, getting alone time away from the noise and chaos is a luxury and floating provides just that. All my stress and worries melted away in the tank and for the first time in a very long time, I experienced beautiful silence and complete relaxation. I highly recommend floating. You will love it!”