Float therapy has many physical benefits in terms of recovery from hard training and sport. It allows us to give back to our body and to reset and restore ourselves for another hard training block, race, game or event. But float therapy doesn’t only help sportspeople physically, I believe it helps with all areas of life – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, otherwise known in Maori philosophy as Haoura – the four pillars of health and wellbeing.
Physical – float therapy aids in recovery. The magnesium in a float tank helps to relieve any aches and pains and helps with supporting your joints and the detoxification of your digestive system. The anti-gravity aspect of a float tank gives your tendons and ligaments a rest and allows us to monitor any tight spots and potential injury sites where we are holding the most tension in the water. I like to float late in the afternoon so that I am relaxed in the evening and ready for the best night’s sleep following float therapy. The improved sleep helps my body to repair and regenerate overnight and helps me to attack a race or training the next day.
Mental – the float tank deprives our senses of light and sound which means the voice in our head can be heard. I like to take the time when floating to listen to that voice and change the dialogue from any negative self-talk to positive self-talk. The time in the pod is restorative mentally and I find the voice in my head begins to calm down throughout the float therapy and actually gets quieter. As a result my mind feels clear and logical after float therapy.
Emotional – some people may worry they will be bored during a float therapy session, just lying there in a tank with nothing to do and no one to talk to, but I believe it is good for us to be bored sometimes. In an age where we are constantly being “entertained” and advertising is always vying for our attention. Our attention has become a commodity and our phones have become our dopamine hit. The float therapy experience allows me to be fully present in the moment, take one step at a time and slow down. I am able to detach from devices and with that, detach from any emotional stress that social media and the attachment to a device brings.
Spiritual – float therapy is about connecting the mind with the body. Often we go through life with a disconnect between our mind and body. The float tank reminds me of the interconnectedness and gives me the opportunity to appreciate my body and thank it for what I put it through on a daily basis. Relationships are about give and take and so often athletes take from their bodies without giving back. Float therapy allows you the time to give back to your body and say thank you for all the amazing things it does.
Whether you are an elite athlete or have just taken up regular exercise since the lockdown, I highly recommend you take the time to give back to your body by adding float therapy sessions on a regular basis to your life. Stress comes in many forms and so we need to look for a holistic remedy that impacts each pillar of our hauora.