10 Feb Flotation Therapy for Pain Relief
What is flotation therapy?
Flotation therapy — or floating — is a method of relaxation that is free from distractions and stimuli like lights, television, radio, computer, phone, work, kids, spouse, pets, and noise. It has been used for several decades throughout the world to promote relaxation and meditation; aid in the treatment of conditions like cancer, arthritis, and PTSD; improve pre-competition visualization for athletes; and is valued for its pain-relieving effects.
How much does floating cost?
Fees for floating are similar to what a massage therapist might charge, with an average cost of $60 per hour. Most float centers offer memberships, packages, and other promotions to encourage visitors to use their centers on a regular basis. Many centers or spas partner with, or offer, several different services such as massage, reflexology, acupuncture, or dry salt saunas.
How does floating work?
Nearly 1,000 lbs. of Epsom salt are added to shallow water inside a pod, tank, or chamber. The air and water temperatures are kept the same as the surface temperature of our skin, about 92-94F degrees. The water is more dense than the Dead Sea, making it impossible to sink or drown. This can be counterintuitive to everything you’ve been taught about floating, so you may need to periodically check the muscles you’d instinctively use to stay afloat (back, neck, ribcage, etc.) to be sure they stay relaxed. The room is nearly soundproof, but there is an option of listening to relaxation music and having a light on if you need it. The idea, however, is to go without light and sound to achieve the best results.
You will have a private room with a float pod, shower and, possibly, a sink and toilet. Towels, washcloths, a robe, shampoo, shower gel, and moldable ear plugs are always provided for your convenience, while other amenities may also be offered, depending on the spa owner. You’ll shower before your float to remove chemicals that could contaminate the tank. Your float begins after your shower is turned off, and is timed by software at the front desk. At the end of your float, music will play and a recording will welcome you back to reality, giving you time to wake up and to exit the pod. You’ll want to shower after your float to remove excess salt that could cause itching or dryness. If you’re still in the room 10 or 15 minutes after your float ends, you will notice that a powerful filtration system will cycle the float water several times to clean it. If, for some reason, you’re still in the pod, a recording will tell you that a cleaning cycle will begin shortly. You don’t want to be in the pod when the jets and filters start!
How does floating make you feel?
Many people describe floating as imagining they are in outer space or back in the womb. They feel high, peaceful, or one with the earth. They often report decreased pain, as well as improved sleep, digestion, performance, creativity, or visualization. The effects can last for hours, days, or even weeks. The results are very individual.
For beginners, the ability to lose track of time, relax, meditate, attain spiritual awareness, or let go of their thoughts usually takes practice. Most cannot attain this in the beginning and should not expect to. Just relax as much as you can. Try listening to each breath as it moves through your lungs. Concentrate on releasing the tension from each muscle, beginning with your head and ending at your toes.
Floating provided me with very good, short term pain relief and I slept like a baby the night of the float. These are two very important benefits to me. I did feel a bit high for the remainder of the evening, and I stayed relaxed for several days. As expected, floating was only a little helpful in relieving my anxiety. I found it nearly impossible to stop thinking about the things I needed to do or what every faint noise might be. With practice, I’m sure mental release would eventually happen; it just didn’t happen for me in the first two visits. If any of the float centers were closer than a 60 to 90-minute drive, I would buy a membership and float on a weekly basis. I believe it would be most beneficial when done on a regular basis.