Floating for Health
PHYSICAL & MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS
The Australian Institute of Sports (AIS), international sporting bodies, national universities and medical institutions have been studying the health benefits of flotation therapy for over 30 years. Chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, memory retention, mental health disorders… we encourage you to delve deep into the wealth of research yourself.
In our float pods you are floating in a solution that has been super saturated with magnesium sulphate (half a tonne in each float pod). Ultra-high levels of magnesium from the magnesium sulphate move directly through your skin and into your blood stream (transdermal absorption).
Similar to vitamin D absorption from the sun, transdermal absorption of magnesium is a self-regulated process (the body only absorbs as much as it needs). Magnesium is essential to over 325 enzymatic reactions in the body.
Magnesium deficiency can be mild or severe, and studies suggest it is more and more common. Reports published by the World Health Organization have estimated that three quarters of Americans do not meet the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of magnesium - we can only assume a similar story for Australia. Magnesium deficiency can produce symptoms of anxiety and depression, muscle fatigue, eye twitches, muscle cramps, insomnia, anorexia, apathy, apprehension, poor memory confusion, anger, nervousness and rapid pulse. Magnesium has an important role in regulating blood sugar, thereby helping to prevent diabetes. It aids in relaxing the smooth muscle in arteries, thereby reducing blood pressure and has a role to play in managing irregular heartbeats. It has also been shown that magnesium supplementation can help to lower stress and anxiety levels. The benefits of magnesium in the body are almost endless and floating is a safe and easy way to boost your levels.
Inflammation & Chronic Pain
Flotation is an effective tool to manage, recover from and alleviate temporary, intermittent and chronic pain.
Magnesium, among other things, controls the cellular activity responsible for inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, lupus and other autoimmune disorders inflame healthy cells in joints, nerves and connective tissue.
The ultra-high concentrate of magnesium in the float pods significantly reduces pain caused by inflammation. Each float pod contains half a tonne of magnesium sulphate. The magnesium from the magnesium enters your body transdermally (through the skin) and the impact is almost immediate.
Pain reduction also occurs because:
· The float pod creates a “zero-gravity” environment. When you are in a float pod, there is no pressure on the body while it is trying to recover.
· The half a tonne of magnesium sulphate in the float pod acts as half a tonne of muscle relaxant, actively releasing the physical and mental tension in your body while you float.
Back, Neck & Shoulder Pain
Flotation therapy is a non-evasive means of reducing or eliminating back, neck and shoulder pain without physical manipulation
When you float in a float pod:
· The spinal cord is in perfect alignment. Perfect spinal alignment enables the immediate identification of stress, pain and injury areas.
· The spinal cord decompresses.
· All muscle groups (including muscles of the neck) relax simultaneously.
· Pressure on joints, inter-vertebral discs, ligaments and bones is relieved at the same time.
While floating, acute and chronic tension is released and slipped discs, joint pains, sciatica, lumbago, pulled muscles or sprains improve.
Chronic back pain can effectively be relieved by floating. Floating enables inter-vertebral disks to regenerate and can slow down the spinal deformation processes.
Stress, Anxiety & Depression
Flotation therapy is an escape from the fast paced lives that most of us lead today. Forcing yourself to take time out from the rigour of the daily grind to float effortlessly and peacefully in the dark, silent depths of a relaxed mind can only be beneficial to body and mind.
Scientifically, floatation therapy is a highly effective means of reducing anxiety, stress and depression:
Eliminating external stimuli
Eliminating external stimuli induces a state of deep relaxation in the float pod. The depth and intensity of this relaxation is far more difficult to achieve using alternate relaxation techniques.
Ultra-high levels of magnesium
Ultra-high levels of magnesium are absorbed transdermally through the skin in the float pod. Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients in our bodies. It’s crucial for more than 300 enzyme reactions, and it’s involved in a wide variety of systems, particularly adrenal health, cardiovascular health, brain health, muscle health, bone health, and hormone health.
GABA levels increase
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels increase while you are in the float pod. GABA is one of the major neurotransmitters, chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other. If you are easily overstimulated and often overwhelmed and stressed out, you might be deficient in this important neurotransmitter.
Reduces the release of stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine and adrenaline)
Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol, epinephrine and adrenaline levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease... the list goes on and on.
Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy.
Function of the Amygdala is inhibited
The amygdala is responsible for the perception of emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness, as well as the controlling of aggression.
Theta wave brain pattern is enacted
Theta State is a state of very deep relaxation. The brain waves are slowed down at a frequency of 4-7 cycles per second. People meditate consecutively for hours to achieve the Theta state which is considered to be the absolute perfect calm.
After floating, there will be a measurable decrease in your:
· Blood pressure.
· Heart rate.
· Muscle tension.
· Production of stress hormones.
Insomnia, Jet Lag & Shift Work
Flotation is commonly used to combat fatigue caused by insomnia, jet lag and shift work and to assist people to re-establish healthy sleep patterns.
People suffering sleep disorder will also suffer impaired attention, judgment and concentration. A lack of sleep has also been medically associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and depression.
For many sufferers of insomnia, flotation therapy has proven incredibly effective. Many people fall asleep during flotation therapy and experience levels of extreme deep relaxation. Some doctors suggest one hour of sleep in a float pod is equivalent to eight hours of normal sleep. This is believed to be true for a number of reasons, including:
Magnesium is well known for its ability to relieve insomnia. Conclusive studies have found that magnesium assists to:
· Decrease cortisol (the stress hormone that can keep you up at night).
· Relax your muscles.
· Regulate sleep patterns.
· Help you unwind after a long day.
The body is able to more effectively absorb magnesium in a float pod environment because there is effective transdermal (through the skin) absorption of the significant concentration of magnesium in the pod.
By eliminating external stimuli, the environment inside the float pod induces a state of deep relaxation. The depth and intensity of this relaxation is far more difficult to achieve using alternate relaxation techniques.
The sympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for our ‘fight or flight’ response) is suppressed during floating, and the parasympathetic nervous system is activated.
This makes it easier for the brain to down-shift from beta to alpha waves into theta waves. Theta waves, which are the gateway to sleep, allow the body to transition into the delta waves required for REM. While prolonged sleep is usually not possible in a float pod, the therapy session allows people to sleep better during the night and these effects last for days to weeks after the flotation session.
Many sufferers of insomnia find it difficult to relax their muscles at night. Flotation therapy removes the effects of gravity on the body and allows muscles to reach deep levels of relaxation. This is particularly useful for those people suffering from back and neck pain.
Sports Rehabilitation & Recovery
The Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) has been using flotation therapy for over 30 years to train Olympians, due to the evidence-based physical and mental health benefits.
The AIS says that floatation therapy speeds up the time it takes to recover from physical injury by 55% to 85% faster. This is by:
· Reducing muscle tension.
· Cleansing the body from lactic acid build up.
· Reducing inflammation and swelling.
· Enhancing the growth of muscle tissue.
· Reducing pain through the production of endorphins.
Sport psychologists, coaches and athletes at the AIS use the float pods as a core training tool, stating floatation therapy works in both a preventative and rehabilitative way.
Floating is also very beneficial when used in conjunction with other forms of rehabilitation, such as physiotherapy.
Performance Enhancement / Visualisation
Flotation therapy enhances sports performance across a wide range of sports including basketball, target shooting, gymnastics, tennis, golf, running, archery, body-building and martial arts. Several studies have also demonstrated that musicians can achieve better technical abilities after regular floating.
In the deeply relaxed state achieved within a float pod, many people become more receptive and able to focus more clearly. This makes a float pod the ideal space to practice visualization techniques, to focus on past performances and practice sessions and to mentally prepare for performance.
Creativity, Learning & Memory
Float pods have been called ‘the gateway to creativity’. Flotation directly affects our brain wave frequencies. There are four basic brain wave frequencies, each correlating with a specific state of consciousness. Beta waves are associated with being alert, active, and whenever you concentrate on learning something or doing an activity that requires focus. During flotation our brain waves gradually shift from beta waves to alpha waves and even to theta waves. Alpha waves are associated with relaxed, daydreaming states of mind; it's a state of relaxed, detached awareness. Some people consider alpha waves to be the link between the conscious mind and the subconscious. Just before you drift off to sleep alpha waves disappear and theta waves appear. Theta waves are associated with vivid imagery, insight and inspiration and are found in deep states of meditation, peak spiritual experiences and higher states of consciousness. Interestingly, children, who are highly creative and always learning, are predominately operating in a theta brain wave state. Research has also shown that regular floaters continue to generate large amounts of creativity-promoting theta waves for several weeks.
Floating can increase mental clarity and focus, with research showing improvement in memory and recall activities, making this an ideal tool for learning and for increasing productivity and innovation.
A More Comfortable Pregnancy
Floating is a safe environment for finding relief from pregnancy symptoms. By entering a weightless environment, the pressure and strain on the body, spine and pelvis are lifted and you are able to lie comfortably in a soothing and relaxing environment. Floating is also a wonderful method for reducing muscle cramps and pains through the effects of the magnesium solution.
Many women are able to finally achieve some restorative sleep while floating, as well as a sense of calm and connectedness with their baby. Some women have even reported being able to hear their baby’s heartbeat within the silence of the float pod! Please consult your doctor before floating if you are in the Third Trimester.