float therapy

Floating and Your Mental Health

18157642_10154605280918100_861007576298800116_n.jpg

Since 1979, float centres have popped up all over the world, helping clients with many physical as well as mental issues.

Briefly, float centres provide chambers where people float in a 28% Epsom Salt solution (with twice the bouyancy  of the Dead Sea).  The high concentration of Epsom Salts (also called Magnesium Sulfate) forces the body to float. The float chambers themselves provide clients with a safe, quiet environment, where their bodies can float weightlessly, their nervous systems get re-tuned, and their brains rest from sight, sound,  proprioception, and even their sense of touch. 

Floating provides numerous and profound benefits. (See www.ifloatfor.com for multiple firsthand accounts of floating’s many different kinds of improvements to people’s lives.)

Here are 3 ways that people use floating to help with their mental issues.

1)Reducing Depression

 

Can floating actually help with depression?  Here’s what one client had to say:

“I have suffered with depression and anxiety from Post Traumatic Stress and between floating and the Mindfulness Monday classes, it keeps me calm, peaceful, and focused throughout my week (https://ifloatfor.com/anxiety/an-incredible-positive-change-in-my-life/).”

As mentioned, when you stretch out in a float chamber, you are floating in a 28% solution of magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salts).   And for some, that magnesium has a profound impact of their depression.  In fact, the Laureate Institute of Brain Research in Tulsa, OK just received an $11 million US grant from the National Institute of Health to study the long term effects of floating on anxiety and depression.

headache-1910649.jpg

The link between depression and magnesium is well-known, but scientists are still unsure of all the mechanisms by which magnesium works on depression. 

A recent randomized clinical trial of magnesium chloride supplements shows a significant improvement in managing depression (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0180067&fbclid=IwAR0O7MZDFEemSR1QHp_5F41Jb0KqO5Emhqnx62GA0ysnbtByQuemrymTjmQ).

 

2) Replacing Anxiety with Serenity

 

So many float clients need help with their anxiety.  This testimonial is indicative of what so many discover:

“This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! You must try to be able to understand just how incredible the whole floating experience is. I suffer with generalized anxiety disorder and I can honestly say I did not have a worry in the world for the first time in I don’t even know how long (https://ifloatfor.com/anxiety/one-of-the-most-amazing-experiences-of-my-life/).

woman-2609115_1920.jpg

 

Once again, the Laureate Brain Research Institute studied floating’s effects upon anxiety.  In the 1st float study ever conducted in patients suffering from both anxiety and depression. Dr. Justin Feinstein and colleagues showed that 1 hour of float therapy can provide significant short-term relief from symptoms of stress and anxiety, leaving patients in a peaceful and serene mental state. (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190292)

Here’s a summary  from LIBR’s website:  “This open-label trial from Dr. Justin Feinstein's Float Clinic and Research Center at LIBR of 50 patients provides an initial proof-of-principle study showing that 1-hour of float therapy can provide significant short-term relief from symptoms of stress and anxiety across a range of different conditions including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  

More than resolving symptoms of mental illness, the experience greatly enhanced mental wellness, leaving patients in a peaceful serene state afterwards.  This mood-enhancing effect of floatation was especially notable given that most of the patients had comorbid depression.” (http://www.laureateinstitute.org/current-events/feinstein-laboratory-publishes-float-study-in-plos-one?fbclid=IwAR2D078k8BtBOxmpiYxk2gLJUhDGzhOPXCC-L9oOxQyOGLCcQGSOL_c8AuI.)

At Flowt K-W, so many clients come to reduce their stress and to enjoy the resultant feelings of serenity.  Their time in the float chamber dials down their sympathetic nervous system, thereby relaxing their triggers for their usual flight-or-fight response. 

The effects of floating are so profound that many clients have found that floating—more than anything else, including prescription drugs—helps with their PTSD. 

 

3) Clearing Mental Fog

 

Many clients float to clear their mental fog.  Here’s an extreme example:

“I have SCA (Spinocerebeller Ataxia), it’s been described like if “ALS and Parkinson’s had a baby it’d be SCA”. Because of this my brain is very scattered or busy. Floating calms it down greatly. Since I started floating about a year ago my balance is much better when I workout and also in my day to day life” (https://ifloatfor.com/focus/calm-down-scattered-brain-spinocerebeller-ataxia/).

Unable to focus, many clients find themselves stuck with endless looping thoughts.  They can’t think clearly. They can’t escape the mindless mental chatter.

headache-1910644.jpg

Float chambers slow down clients’ brainwave patters to a theta-wave state.  Time in the float chamber rests their brains from sight and sound, from that sixth sense we call proprioception, and even from their sense of touch. 

In that deep theta-wave state, clients’ brains get to empty and stop and relax.  They experience a new-found clarity.  No more confusing brain clutter.

 

Give Floating a Try

 

If any of these symptoms describe you, give floating a try.   We’ve only spoken about some of the benefits to your mental health.  There are many other benefits, too, for your body and your spirit.

27067824_10155763467301293_225079437059719374_n.jpg

Give me a Break!

We all have anxiety.  That's a fact.  We can't escape it.  But too many of us have anxiety too much of the time. 

The problem is that far too many of us carry such a heavy, debilitating burden of anxiety:  generalized anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, burnout, etc.  

There's millions of us who are stressed out of our minds.  It's an epidemic. And it's costing us billions.

When we're over-anxious, we shut down.  We don't go to work.  We don't reach out and touch our friends and family the way we should.  

Most of us don't even get treatment, and so we lose out on so many of the opportunities that life offers us.  We've hit a wall.  So we can't take on any more tasks, relationships, opportunities, or exciting projects. 

We're desperate for some respite.  We need a break! 

NEUROSCIENCE HAS SOME GOOD NEWS 

For years, those who float have told us about the amazing ways that floating banishes their stress.  For decades, people have been shuffling out of their float rooms, smiles on their faces, barely able to articulate the depth of their relaxation response.  Words fail them.

Now, recent research has been using fMRI's to peer into the brains of those who float.  That research confirms that floating alters our brains to reduce stress significantly, just like anti-anxiety medicine. (And floating does not have the anti-anxiety medicine's highly addictive qualities.)

 On August 20, 2016,  neuro-scientist Dr. Justin Feinstein revealed results of a key study about to be published. He's the Director of the Float Clinic and Research Center (FCRC) at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR).

You can see Dr Feinstein unveil his ground-breaking research here. (We'll let you know when it's published.)

So many people know that floating works. Now, neuroscience is beginning to show us how it works on de-stressing us!

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

Floating helps keep that stress away.  It's not just that you're drunk on relaxation for a mere few hours, and then the chronic stress floods back into your life and threatens to drown you all over again.  

In 2005 Sven-Ake Bood and the Human Performance Lab at Karlstad studied the long-term relaxation effect from floating.  (See "Eliciting the Relaxation Response With the Help of Floatation REST in Patients with Stress-related Ailments", Bood et al, International Journal of Stress Management, 2006, Vol 13, No. 2, 154-175).

What was the upshot of their study?  

After floating 12 times, the test group showed substantial improvements to measures of their subjective pain, sleep quality, optimism, stress, anxiety, and depression.  That's huge! 

What’s more--and this is really worth pondering--these benefits were still maintained four months later.  If you're interested, read the study for the comparisons between the control group and the test group.   

LIFE AFTER STRESS

Pop anti-anxiety pills, and you can keep the stress away.

But floating can do so much more than fend off the chronic stress.  It can bring a new sense of well-being into your life.

Practice the art of floating and it can further enhance your quality of life. Deepen your meditation.  Spark your creativity. Enhance your mindfulness. Speed up your learning.  Manage your chronic pain.  

Do you know any pills that can do all these things? 

7 Insane (But True) Things About Float Therapy

Our brains are super-busy.  More than we'll ever know.

I'm not just talking about our thinking and our normal 5 senses--seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting.  There's another 6th sense, called proprioception.

You don't hear about it much.  For many of us, proprioception is just a blank. 

So, what is proprioception? Proprioception is how we sense our body's position, its movement, and its acceleration.

Now, just think about that for a minute.  How much of that sensing does our brain do for us without any conscious participation?  From moment to moment, our brain is mapping where all of our body parts are in relation to each other and then coordinating all those body parts together in order to move and negotiate gravity.

There's this crazy busyness always going on.  Your brain has to do all this body-mapping all the time.

And this is where 7 insane--but wonderful--things happen to you in float therapy.

1. Zero Gravity

Float tanks do a big number in shutting down this 6th sense.

Just imagine, you slip into your float chamber, and this hyper-buoyant water keeps you afloat.  Stretched out in the warm silky water, the Epsom Salt keeps your body floating of its own accord.

You've just relieved your body from gravitational pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles.  That's a lot of work your brain no longer has to negotiate.

Now, your brain is being denied so much of the work that it normally has to do.  No gravity to worry about, no proprioceptive work.

2. Pay Attention to the details!

Relieved of its normal duties, your brain latches onto smaller, more minute sensations. 

You're on your back, and there's this wonderful counter-gravity pressure completely supporting your feet, legs, hands, arms, and spine.  Your brain no longer has to help your bones and muscles strain against gravity.

What a relief for both your brain and your body!

So, your brain zeroes in on much smaller sensations throughout your body, intensifying what you can sense:  your fluttering eyelids, residual knots of tension at distinct spots in your body. There's lots going on in your body that you never felt before.

You're noticing muscle tensions you didn't know existed.

3. You Just Relax

Soon enough, those knots and muscle tensions can start to melt.

As the water underneath you buoys you up, you can feel your spine stretch in ways it can't when you are standing up and walking around, constantly defying gravity.

Your brain and your floating body can work in tandem now.  Together, they are conspiring to make you relax in ways that cause many to feel rubbery when they step out of their float chamber.

If fact, some of you will relax so much that after your float, you will need some time in the lounge to adjust to normal sitting and standing.

pixabay.jpg

Dominoes

From there on, the rest of the fallout from floating's zero-gravity is like dominoes.  Believe it or not, here are the remaining four of those seven things that float therapy does for you:

4.  With the relaxation, your heart can operate more efficiently and more effortlessly;

5. With the counter-pressure of the water upholding you and stretching you out on its surface, your blood circulates more freely;

6. Your blood pressure drops; and

7. Your pulse rate slows.

 

Show me the Guarantee!

When you slide into your float chamber, you are guaranteed to float.  850 llbs of Epsom Salt dissolved in 200 gallons of water is bound to do that.

And your proprioceptive sense is guaranteed to shut down more than anywhere else on this earth.

Also, it's a guarantee that some people just don't seem to experience as many benefits from floating therapy's zero-gravity as others do.

But there are just far too many testimonials and research accounts from those who have found relief from chronic pain by floating. Whether it's people with bursitis, arthritis, tendonitis, or muscle strain, float therapy's zero gravity has truly benefited them.

So, go find a float centre, and give your brain and body a rest.  Surrender to the zero-gravity of your float chamber and experience first-hand what happens when your brain and body finally take a rest from proprioception.

 

How to Cheat at Float Therapy and Get Away With it

How to Cheat at Float Therapy and Get Away With it

Now that you've done everything your host told you to do, it's time to climb into your float chamber, lie on your back, and ready yourself for a great 90 minutes of floating.

If you are a floating novice, here's the secret to good results even on your very first float.

13 Ways Float Therapy Could Help the Blue Jays Win the World Series

"Toronto Blue Jays home opener, 2010" by Blue JaysFan32

I have to admit it. I have Blue Jay fever.

After watching the Blue Jays win Game 4 last night, I fell asleep relieved we were going to Game 5.  However, as I rested my head on my pillow, I was still anxious about the upcoming game. 

I don't remember anything after that.  I must have slipped out of consciousness.

The Dream

The next thing that happened to me was The Dream.

It began with me behind the Blue Jay's dugout, all of us fans screaming, shouting, stomping, going crazy.  I was yelling myself hoarse.

Suddenly--as can only happen in a dream--I was transported into the Blue Jays' locker room.  I could hear the ruckus above in the stadium, but I had the entire locker room to myself.

Weird.

Just then, a lone trainer appeared, pressed a button on the far wall of the locker room, and a huge door slid open.  I couldn't believe what I saw!!  My jaw dropped. 

 

The Blue Room

There was a secret cavernous room lit in a soft blue light that came from everywhere and nowhere.  At first, I couldn't make out anything.

Gradually,  I saw I was standing in front of 50 float tanks arranged in 5 neat rows.  In the dark, I could barely make out the numbers stencilled onto the doors of each float tank.  I spotted a few of my favourite numbers: 6, 19, 20, 43, 54, and 55.

Then I realized what I was looking at.  Each Blue Jay had their own dedicated float tank hidden in a secret room.

The List

In my dream, I finally stepped into the soft light of the secret blue room, and the huge door slid shut behind me. 

It was dead quiet inside.  I no longer could hear the crowds in the stadium.

That's when I noticed that on top of each gleaming white float tank, there was a large clipboard, and on each clipboard there were identical checklists.

I stepped up to the tank with a big #6 stencilled on it and reached for the clipboard.  The checklist was divided into 2 parts.

Checklist Part 1:  Before the Game

I read Part 1, entitled "Before the Game".

Here's what it said:  "Before you step into your float tank, aim for the following":

  1. Reduce your jet lag
  2. Locate your deep tissue injuries while floating
  3. As you float, identify any imbalanced muscle tension
  4. Release your stress
  5. Eliminate noisy thoughts for better focus and concentration
  6. Visualize key movements
  7. Do not leave the tank until you have achieved mental clarity
  8. Leave relaxed, go home, and sleep well.

I looked around the room.  I couldn't find the trainer who had originally opened the door to this secret Blue Room, so I kept on reading the checklist.

Checklist Part 2:  After the Game

Part 2 of the checklist began with these words:  "After your post-game float, check off which benefits especially applied to you after today's game":

Here's the list of benefits I read in my dream:

  1. Release of lactic acid
  2. Better flow of lymphatic fluids
  3. Relief of pain
  4. Reduced fatigue
  5. Accelerated recovery from injuries
  6. Boosted levels of energy
  7. Relaxed muscles

I saw checkmarks beside every one of these.  No wonder these guys looked so good!

Just then, in my dream, I heard a loud noise behind me as the huge door to the Blue Room slid open! I had been found out!!

As it turned out, my dog was scratching at our bedroom door and woke me up.

The secret and silent Blue Room, the numbered float tanks, the clipboards and checklists all turned out to be only a dream.

But the 13 benefits to float therapy are not a dream.

Your Checklist

Make your own checklist of how float therapy helps you.

To explore more of how floating can benefit you, click here.