Why Athletes Should Float

REST (restricted environmental stimulation technique/therapy) has been used in the sporting world with great success since the early 1980s. Some of the first professional sports teams to utilize floatation therapy include the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Philies and the Dallas Cowboys. In addition to these major sport franchises, various olympic athletes such as Carl Lewis, Jade Johnson, and Tasha Danvers have all used floatation – REST to improve their athletic performance. Research suggests that flotation tanks boost an athlete’s performance in three different ways: control over the negative effects of stress, elevation of their mental training and decreased recovery time after demanding workouts and races.

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How Floatation Helps Navy Seals Recover from Concussions

Navy SEALs face some of the most challenging circumstances on the planet. They’re called into action to serve and protect in the diverse terrains of sea, air, and land. Unfortunately, their service often comes with a price: illnesses and injuries caused by combat.
The good news is that floatation therapy is an excellent tool for healing concussions and other injuries sustained during service. Floatation therapy provides deep relaxation and pain relief and promotes the body’s natural healing abilities. The result is deep physical and psychological healing.

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How Floatation Can Help Your Heart

It’s no exaggeration: maintaining heart health is one of the most important factors affecting wellness and longevity. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, with some pretty scary statistics: 1 out of every 4 deaths is attributed to heart disease. Heart disease affects people from all different backgrounds and across all income levels. It’s an unfortunate common denominator in this country.

It’s common knowledge that healthy eating and exercise can help keep your heart in good shape. Sadly, the relationship between stress and heart disease, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and weight distribution, is less well known. Along with diet and activity, floatation therapy can help protect your heart from disease.

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Floating for Athletic Performance

In December 2015, in the midst of a record-setting 22-0 start to the NBA season, the Golden State Warriors’ star Stephen Curry invited ESPN to follow him and teammate Harrison Barnes into their secret weapon: the neighborhood float center! This was their firsthand account of how floating helps with muscle recovery, overcoming travel stress, and increasing focus. With its unique combination of physical and mental benefits, it’s little wonder that floatation therapy counts professional and amateur athletes among some of our biggest advocates. The relationship between floating and athletic performance is a complex one, with many possible reasons why so many elite athletes have taken up floating.

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Floatation Therapy For Mental Performance

As described in our sections on Meditation & Creativity and Stress Relief & Relaxation, floatation therapy has incredible impacts on the brain while inside the float tank. But a perhaps overlooked area might be on the ongoing effects of floating on how the brain performs after a float session. Does floating actually induce physiological changes in the brain that improves mental performance?

The short answer is: yes.

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Float Tanks For Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a pain condition that affects between 2 and 10% of the population in the U.S., generally more women than men at a ratio of 9:1. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by the presence of pain in 18 specific tender points in the body. This pain can be accompanied by deep fatigue and poor focus or concentration. Many fibromyalgia patients also suffer from mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, both of which can exacerbate pain.

One way to treat not only the fibromyalgia, but also the stress and anxiety that may accompany it is visiting a float tank, also known as a sensory deprivation tank. Flotation REST (reduced environmental stimuli therapy) was developed in the 1950s by John C. Lilly, M.D. and uses a water-filled tank that is approximately the size of a bed and heated to skin temperature. The water is saturated with Epsom salts so that the patient can float without any effort.

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Float Tanks And Chronic Pain

Chronic pain in the summertime can be a double whammy of discomfort. Those suffering from chronic pain find that relaxation and sleep is even harder to come by due to the heat, and lack of sleep can intensify pain. It’s a vicious circle. There are ways to beat the heat in the summer, including keeping a cool, dark bedroom for sleeping, exercising in the morning when it is coolest, and eating refreshing summer fruits and veggies to keep your internal fires cool.

In addition to those tips, many chronic pain sufferers find relief through meditation. One way to get your zen on is by visiting a float tank, also known as a sensory deprivation tank. Flotation REST (reduced environmental stimuli therapy) was developed in the 1950s by John C. Lilly, M.D. and uses a water-filled tank that is approximately the size of a bed and heated to skin temperature. The water is saturated with Epsom salts so that the patient can float without any effort.

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Can Floatation Treat Neurological Disorders?

The central nervous system is vastly complex. It controls all of the body’s senses and movements, as well as our capacity for forming and analyzing thoughts. Because the neurological system is so intricate, finding effective treatments for neurological disorders can be challenging.

Many neurological system disorders cause chronic pain and other symptoms that negatively impact a person’s quality of life. While some of these conditions aren’t permanently curable, there are treatments available that can improve daily functions. Floatation has the potential to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms and is an effective component of a neurological disorder treatment plan.

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Can Floatation Therapy Help to Treat PTSD?

The bravest among us confront unthinkable horrors every day. Soldiers, law enforcement officers, rescue teams, and others face extraordinarily traumatic events. War, violence, and disaster leave physical and psychological scars. In fact, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most common among members of the armed forces and search and rescue teams.

Trauma also impacts many people in their personal lives or living circumstances. Survivors of personal violence also frequently suffer PTSD. Current treatments for PTSD can involve extensive use of medications that have unwanted side effects. Fortunately, floatation therapy is a natural alternative that can help alleviate PTSD symptoms and nurture physical and psychological healing.

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Can Floatation Therapy Help Abused Kids?

Sadly, child abuse and trauma are a big problem. Abused children, those in the foster system, or kids who experienced other trauma have special needs. These individuals can benefit from float therapy, especially in conjunction with other therapies.

Children of abuse and trauma suffer from a variety of symptoms including anxiety, anger, dissociation, mood swings, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), shame, and self-destructive behavior. The key to reducing these symptoms is to distance the mind from the incident, regain confidence in the individual, and trust in those around them. The most common type of treatment for this condition is psychotherapy. This can be effective, but it can take a long time to see significant results. Therapists are finding positive results by adding floatation therapy to their treatment plan.

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