Floating or flotation is therapy in which the person lies in a dense Epsom salt water solution in a tank (pod/room) that has been specially-designed for this. It is an incredible and highly-effective way of relaxing and relieving stress. This is a very widely-accepted therapy and is used by a number of world-renowned athletes to treat various sports-related conditions and aid in their recovery. It is also beneficial for those who don’t play any sports but want to better manage the stresses in their system.
Cumulative Effects What is notable is the fact that the positive effects of floatation are also cumulative – the more frequently you use this therapy, the more you benefit. After several floats our clients frequently comment how they crave time in the float tank, it becomes very addictive. Sports-people from various fields, use this experience to optimize the effects of their training routines, manage fatigue and speed-up their recovery from sports injuries.
Who Uses Floatation Therapy? 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! Watch their firsthand account of how floating helps with muscle recovery, overcoming travel stress, and increasing focus:
Other famous athletes that float:
Carl Lewis, Olympic gold medalist in track & field Peter Reid, 1998 Ironman champion Pat Healy, MMA fighter NFL teams the Philadelphia Eagles & the Dallas Cowboys famously used floatation tanks in the 1980s Wayne Rooney, Manchester United’s star soccer player, reportedly uses his own in-house float tank up to 10 hours per week, and credited it with helping him recover from injury more quickly. Jade Johnson, competitive track & field athlete. Johnson has said, “I have always used physiotherapy and massage to help injury recovery but floatation is different. When I float I can really feel a lot of pressure being taken off my back and when I compete I feel calm and my mind and body feels in balance.” In 2015, players from the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks made daily visits to Tempe, AZ float centers throughout the week leading up to the Super Bowl. Reports even have it that Tom Brady has a float tank of his own at home. In fact, Steven Hauschka, the Superbowl-winning Seattle Seahawks kicker (clearly a man who understands the mental and physical components of athletic performance!), floats weekly at a Seattle float center. In an interview with the float center, he said: “When I set aside an hour to float, I always come out feeling amazing both physically and mentally. It’s like a reset button for me and I can accomplish so much in that one hour it’s incredible…First I like to do 10 deep breaths. I visualize being on the top of a mountain inhaling the cleanest coldest air you can think of. When I exhale, I imagine all the toxic, negative things in my body leaving as black smoke. After this drill I sometimes will just relax for the rest of the float and decompress. Other times I will visualize good kicks, but in general I am in there to relax.” This list is not exclusive and with a growing momentum, jumping in now before it takes over your sport will give you the edge! The different benefits of using flotation therapy are:
Accelerates the recovery from injury
Increases energy (ATP)
Ideal space for visualization
Boosts the immune system
Reduces Lactic acid levels in the body
Aids in facilitated rest, improving athletes exposure to fatigue
In the floatation tank, gravity isn’t a factor. The complete relaxation that it provides, gives all the muscles the much-needed break they need. The benefits are truly impressive. When the person is in the tank, every single muscle in the body gets the rest it needs and the time to recover. Though you may feel that lying in bed or a sofa has the exact same effect, the fact is that gravity is always at work and this adds stress to many parts of the body. Furthermore epsom salts are magnesium and sulphate – a muscle relaxant and a protein builder for your joints. Not only can you truly decompress in the float tank, you absorb the minerals while you float directly into your muscles, allowing you to be noticeably less tense as soon as you get up! Recovery Time Frame When the athlete is in the flotation tank, the actual rate of recovery post physical exercise can be enhanced beyond recognition. Recovery that would generally take a very long time can get compressed into just a few hours. Since floating in the water that has high concentrations of Epsom salt reduces the stresses of gravity, the weight and pressure is taken off strained muscles, joints and bones. This increases the efficiency of the blood circulation right through the body. It can also significantly improves the recovery time after injury. The body has amazing pathways set up, to alarm it of pain or injury, hot or cold etc when the brain receives these signals, it can then react and adapt accordingly. However this mechanism is not just designed to cope with injury. All positive signals of relief experienced while floating can also go into the brain, producing a very profound, complete state of relaxation that is not to be dismissed. Sports Performance Improvement Athletes that use this float therapy in combination with visualization techniques can experience a very significant improvement in their performances. As the person’s brain transitions into a theta state, it becomes much more open to suggestion. The central nervous system can essentially be effectively trained to produce ‘perfect performance’. Today a number of top athletes across Australia and the U.S use this technique to relax and up their performance in their chosen sport. Working Against Gravity While floating, gravity pressures gets taken-off the muscles and joints and the entire body is put in to a state of high physical relaxation. The blood pressure and oxygen intake reduces but the blood flow and distribution of red blood cells increases. These combined effects are especially beneficial to athletes, as it speeds the recovery from injury and assists in flushing-out cortisol, lactate and adrenaline that might have built-up either via training or performance. Reduces Injury Risk Floatation loosens the muscles and gives athletes a higher degree of control in their nervous systems. In effect, this can reduce injury risk during training/competition. Floatation can accelerate the athlete’s recovery process and release large quantities of endorphins (natural painkiller of the body) By being in an environment that facilitates reduced external stimuli, which is another component of floatation, the athlete truly has the space to reach the level of concentration required to have a tangible effect on his/her performance. Many modern training methods are focused on helping athletes master their “inner game” and assist in developing perfect synchronicity between body, mind and emotion and where better to find yourself then in a setting that is designed to do just that?
Floatation is also used by many people in helping them identify areas of tension that they were not previously aware of. Many people report being able to have a sense of a certain body part while floating, drawing attention to an area that they can then go to their practitioner of choice for diagnosis and treatment.
When are you going to float? So you can improve recovery, you can manage pre-injury, you can reduce muscle tension and you can out perform competitors by harnessing the under-utilised power of relaxation in sport. When are you going to float? Adapted from http://paramountsportsrecovery.com.au/every-athlete-should-use-a-float-tank/