Updated: Mar 8, 2022
Everyone loves their cell phones, computers and smart devices, but we are experiencing accessibility and connectivity overload. It’s nearly impossible to escape the phone calls, text messages, emails and social media posts. It seems drinking from the information firehose has become the new norm. Today’s society demands productivity that continually taxes our mental and physical wellbeing. Flotation therapy provides a rare break from this continuous stream of information being pumped into our minds and bodies. Also known as ‘REST’ (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy), floatation therapy is at the pinnacle of active recovery methodologies, allowing participants to reap countless physical and mental benefits. Participants report a substantial reduction in anxiety and muscle tension, along with substantial increase in serenity and relaxation.
PHYSICAL HEALTH BENEFITS:
DECREASE CHRONIC PAIN
Several studies have shown that participants with chronic pain report significant reductions in severe pain intensity.
The weightlessness of floatation therapy can be especially helpful to people suffering from pain associated with spinal cord injuries, as tension in skeletal muscles is greatly reduced— especially in the upper and lower back areas.
REDUCE BLOOD PRESSURE
Blood pressure is one of the key indicators of stress and anxiety. Studies have generated statistically significant data showing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure are greatly reduced during float sessions.
ENHANCE MUSCLE RECOVERY AND DECREASE TENSION
Successful athletes participate in extensive physical training, which often leads to physical fatigue and the need for advanced recovery methods. Overtraining without proper recovery can result in poor performance and a lack of positive result sustainability.
Flotation therapy has been shown to reduce blood lactate in athletes resulting in enhanced muscle recovery and less soreness.
Among the growing number of professional athletes who regularly use flotation therapy are Lenox Lewis, Carl Lewis, Tom Brady, Steph Curry, and Michael Phelps—just to name a few. Several collegiate and professional sports franchises have added flotation pods to their training facilities. The Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Michigan Wolverines, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Philadelphia Eagles, and Boston Celtics are part of the growing list of teams that have adopted flotation therapy as part of their recovery practices.
INCREASE SLEEP QUALITY
Insomnia and other sleep disorders are increasingly common, and we know that a lack of sufficient sleep can lead to drowsiness, anger, depression, inattentiveness, and more. Thankfully, studies have generated statistically meaningful data showing that flotation therapy can improve long-term sleep quality. While research in this area is ongoing, it is known that flotation therapy allows the brain to shift from alpha to theta waves — the state necessary to achieve REM. Sleep latency, the time it takes to fall asleep, can also be reduced through repeated floatation therapy sessions.
MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS:
Floating’s dark, gravity-free silence is a perfect environment to raise self-awareness and mindfulness. The elimination of distractions allows floaters to be fully present in the moment, and the reduction of sensory inputs increases awareness of cardiorespiratory sensations like heartbeat and breathing. The stillness allows floaters to recognize and quiet their thoughts. Through floating, you can empty your mind and become more mindful in the process.
The ability to focus directly correlates to the amount of distractions we are faced with. One of the primary goals of floatation therapy is to reduce distractions and create a space where one can truly focus with a relaxed body and an alert, attentive mind.
When it comes to creativity, participants often report an increase in originality, creativity and inspiration. People describe the sensation of floating as “a dream-like time and space feeling,” or “a feeling of drifting.” Floating can inspire so much creativity that post-floating activities often include sketching, writing and coloring.
Scientific studies show flotation therapy greatly reduces symptoms of chronic anxiety conditions such as Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, General Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety Disorder, and Anxiety Sensitivity (AS). Anxiety is triggered through several sensory inputs such as sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, temperature, balance, gravity, and movement. During float sessions, these sensory signals are all massively reduced resulting in lower blood pressure and muscle tension, along with an increased awareness of heartbeat and breathing.
Stress comes in many forms and is common to major life events like death, marriage and divorce, as well as daily hassles pertaining to work, school and family. Excessive stress can increase the risk of serious medical conditions resulting in strokes, heart attacks, ulcers and mental illness. While effective forms of stress relief often involve deep relaxation, many people find it challenging to participate in relaxing activities.
Flotation therapy provides an environment where one can easily enter a state of distraction-free relaxation, resulting in significant stress reduction.
TREAT NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDERS
Magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salt, is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines as an anticonvulsant medication that helps normalize nerve impulses and assists in the prevention or treatment of epilepsy, seizure disorders, nerve pain and bipolar disorder. During flotation therapy, magnesium is absorbed through the skin giving the nervous system a healthy boost of magnesium, which helps control the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
REDUCE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
Thanks to the reduction of sensory signals, participants commonly increase their awareness of breathing and heartbeat. This enhanced sensation is extremely pleasant to participants and has been found to reduce symptoms of depression, while improving overall mood. Unlike psychotropic medications such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and countless other drugs, flotation therapy has no serious side effects.
(Founder of True REST)