Have you heard about the benefits of float therapy? Have you floated?

So, I floated for the first time a few weeks ago.  Josh and I planned a “self care” day, and in addition to just spending a little time together, we booked a session at MODE Mind and Body for a 30 minute infrared sauna session and an hour in the float tank.  Although I had read a little about “floating” before, I won’t lie…I didn’t subscribe to the hype of float therapy.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by the way that I felt after my hour in the tank.  I was relaxed, rested, and felt extremely light.  After experiencing floating first hand, I decided to dig into the specific benefits of float therapy.  Here’s what I found out.

What is float therapy?

Maybe you have never heard of float therapy.  It’s okay, I’m pretty new to it as well.  Float therapy is also known as sensory deprivation {there is nothing happening in the tank}. Floating puts you into a meditative state.  Here’s the basic process….

Think of a big pod, like something you would close yourself into.  This is the float tank.  Each tank is filled with 1,000 of magnesium or Epsom Salt.  The water is set to the temperature of your body.  You shower off, put some ear plugs in, climb in, and float away in a sea of salt water for an hour.  Pretty simple.

My experience in the float tank.

Coming into the room, I showered off, and applied the ear plugs.  Apparently these aren’t necessary, but I used them anyway.  Next, you climb into your pod and close the top.  I’m not really claustrophobic, but I did have to test the open and close function of the lid a few times before I could relax.  Finally, you simply lay back and FLOAT.  Weird, right?

Due to the salt content, your body floats in the water.  It’s a little weird, but you really feel like you are floating on air and not in water.  Once you get in, the key is to relax.  I had a little trouble at first because your arms can’t really be by your side, but I got the hang of it quickly.  You can use a soft light and / or music, but I opted for the light off and music as low as possible.

For the first few minutes, I was sure there was no way I was going to be able to stay in this pod, completely still, much less relaxed, for an entire hour.  But, somehow, I began to relax.  I don’t know if I fell asleep on and off, but my body was in a pretty meditative state.  I could feel my breathing slow, and I began to notice even the smallest movements of my body.

The next thing I knew, a voice was coming on telling me my session was over and I could exit.  Upon exiting, you shower to remove the salt, and you are done.  

The benefits of float therapy that I experienced.

Almost immediately upon exiting the tank, I felt extremely relaxed.  My mind was clear, my body felt light, and it was almost like I had just taken an amazing nap.  Coming into the tank, I was pretty sore and tired from a long week of workouts.  I left feeling very restored.

I was also nursing a pretty nasty shoulder.  My shoulder was actually very bruised from a cupping session I had done earlier in the week.  Here is the thing that probably freaked me out the most.  I checked the bruising on my shoulder that morning.  It was still black and blue.  When I got out of the tank and back into the dressing room, I looked again.  The bruising was almost gone…it was crazy.  I could still see where the bruise was, but all of the black and blue was replaced with a yellowish bruise.  

Throughout the day, I felt calm.  That feeling hung around for quite a while.  I slept great following my float, and my workout the following day was really great.

Overall, it was a winning experience for me.

Benefits of float therapy that you may experience.

So, floating does have some known health benefits.  Although the studies have been done in small populations, it seems that science is backing up float therapy for a variety of uses.  Here are four benefits of float therapy.

Decrease in Anxiety and Depression

Due to the relaxed state that you are in during the float, cortisol production is minimized.  Floating has been shown to improve mood.  Floating reduces external stimuli to help the body achieve a natural restorative state.

Decreased Stress

Magnesium inhibits the hormone ACTH, which drives the adrenals to release cortisol.  Magnesium has also been shown to improve sleep quality.  Improved sleep tends to help stress levels go down.

Relieves Physical Pain

In the tank, your muscles enter a state of relaxation.  The magnesium helps oxygenate your body by promoting vasodilation, which helps improve blood flow.  It reduces lactic acid in the blood as well, helping to relieve sore muscles.

Dose of Magnesium

Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, and most of us are actually deficient in magnesium.  An hour in the float tank allows for transdermal exposure to magnesium, and you are also inhaling the magnesium as well when you are in the tank.

Why not?

Lately, I have really loved the “why not” approach to many things.  This is the mindset that I approached floating with, and I actually really, really enjoyed it.  I obviously didn’t receive every benefit in just one session, but I left much more relaxed and less stressed than I was when I climbed into the pod.

If you are looking for something to do with a friend or your spouse, why not plan a self care day and go float and grab lunch?  This is what Josh and I did, and the day was awesome. Even if you don’t believe in the benefits of float therapy, I’m confident you will leave feeling much more relaxed than you were before you floated. If you are local to the Pensacola area, I highly recommend Mode Mind and Body. The facility was extremely clean, and the staff was incredibly nice and helpful.

If you are dealing with stress, you need to invest in yourself and get it under control.  We address stress within our 12-week program, Project You.  If you have never addressed or taken an honest look at your stress level, I highly encourage you to sit down and evaluate it.  Not sure where to start?  Get on the waitlist for Project You now. 

Take care of you.

~KP

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