Do you suffer from acute or chronic pain? Complementary therapies such as Acupuncture and Floatation Therapy shine as they offer a different method of pain relief and management and have no adverse side effects that can be associated with Western pharmaceutical.  Acupuncture has a long history of well over 2000 years and has become widely recognised with many research papers of its validity for acute and chronic pain relief and long-term management.

Floatation therapy has been around for about 50 years, and one of the theories as to why it helps so much with relieving pain is because of the chemical reactions that takes place in the brain when it relaxes, the brain releases its own opiates or natural pain killers, endorphins are the feel good hormones that are released when we are happy, and similar to what an athletes experiences after an intense training described as a high, and why physical activity is so strongly recommended for mental health. So, the immediate effect of floating is similar to this “HIGH” without the effort.

pain and floating

People suffering with chronic and acute pain, are seeking other methods and activities that are not in the form of medication to help manage and reduce symptoms of pain. Pain affects us both physically and emotionally and can be debilitating, restricting our ability to function normally in our lives, affecting how we relate to our family and friends and function at work.

How do you treat yourself if your experiencing pain?

If you are experiencing stress and tension which is what often triggers pain in the body, and if acute, may disappear within a day or 2, or if chronic will take longer.  Acute pain may just require massaging some healing balm onto the site of injury, seeing a physical therapist, osteopath, physiotherapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, masseuse, ice bath, cryotherapy, or simply an Epsom Salt bath. Injuries can happen at any time, and how we manage them can also affect how quickly we recover. Unlike the above-mentioned therapies Floatation therapy has a unique effect on the body, its ability to help the body and brain relax on a profoundly deep level, fully supporting the skeletal system and improving blood flow to all area without increasing any pain by touch, provides the perfect environment for the body to heal.

There are some injuries that don’t heal quite as easily as anticipated.  Even simple surgical procedures can end up complicated and taking longer, ongoing medical treatments where recovery is slow can benefits from what floating can offer. Pain can increase our anxiety and lead to poor sleep quality thus slowing down the body’s natural healing process.

Chronic pain management without the medication.

Chronic pain can develop slowly as inflammation markers increase due to long term stress which has been shown to be linked to some autoimmune disorders, such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.  Generally, these conditions are life long and need a multi-pronged approach.  Western medicine is well aware that pain medication is not enough, and much research has been done on a variety of therapies that are not pharmaceutical based including, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, and teaching people how to manage pain without drugs.

Floatation therapy also known as R.E.S.T. (restricted environmental stimulation technique), is proving to be a powerful method in helping people manage their pain, it not only assists people to effortlessly reach the same meditative state where the brain releases those feel good hormones and  our natural pain killers, but also increases a sense of calm and serenity, with research showing the mood is elevated for days after a float session and the possibility to break the pain cycle.

In 2001, a small study in Sweden was completed showing evidence where participates experiencing extreme pain, reported a significant reduction in pain levels, lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and were able to fall asleep more easily at night.  For more information, see – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4807536/

Floating in a sensory deprivation, isolation, floatation tank may appear strange at first, but the positive benefits on the brain and body are significant enough to want to repeat after just one session. Regular weekly float sessions are recommended for a much greater shift and easing of pain allowing the mind and body to address long term issues and many find that the way they live their life in general changes for the better.

Sense of weightlessness

The dense salty solution within the float tank enables the body to float effortlessly, removing all pressure from the spine and surrounding joints and immediately improving blood flow to the extremities thus reducing pain.  By laying in a supine position lengthening the spine naturally without any pressure. The magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt) aids in the detoxification of lactic acid in the muscles and reducing inflammation.

floatation therapy pods

The sense of weightlessness, skin temperature water and reduced external sensory input, allow the brain to redirect vast resources of energy, calming the para-sympathetic nervous system and reducing cortisol levels, and turning off the inflammation markers, thus allowing for the brain to reset and start to heal the body. Michael Hutchison from” The book of Floating” says, “that the Limbic systems responds to floatation by inhibiting the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that a have a harmful or stressful effect. At the same time, floating apparently causes the limbic system to increase secretion of beneficial neurochemicals such as endorphins”.

How important is Sleep for Pain Relief?

The importance of sleep, rest, and recovery is fundamental for our health and well-being, because the brain is always processing vast amounts of information even when sleeping. Do you ever feel more tired in the morning, wishing for a good night’s sleep or not having to get up? There are many reasons why people don’t get a good night’s sleep. Giving the brain the time to rest and repair by getting quality sleep is essential. Researchers have studied the effects of Floatation R.E.S.T.  for this purpose, surprised at the profound results, saying you can experience the deepest rest in the shortest amount of time. Often equating 1 hour of floating is equivalent to 4 hours of deep rest.

The synergic affect floating has on the brain is still a fascinating area of study within neuroscience.  Mathew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California and has a lot to say on the importance of sleep and when the brain is devoid of stress and pain and external stimuli, it can deeply rest and repair. This describes exactly what floatation therapy provides, the brain doesn’t shut down or sleep in the ways we imagine, it processes vast amounts of information, filing away all the experiences and input from the day and attempts to bring homeostasis back into the system, enabling sleep. So, without good quality rest, the system builds upon its stress, leaving one feeling tired and uncomfortable. The body’s ability to recover and repair from injury or pain is reduced, so floating is the ideal antidote.

Dead Sea or Floatation Therapy?

Chronic stress increases pains intensity. Eliminating or dramatically reducing stress can help decrease sensitivity to pain. The simplicity of floatation therapy is what is so amazing.  The unique environment, much like the DEAD SEA, asks so little of the individual and all that is required, is to give yourself the time to relax for 60-90 mins – it is that easy!

Are you ready to reduce your pain levels?

Book a float today at Water Temple

If you are under medical supervision, we advise you to consult your physician for advice before booking an appointment.

If it is safe to swim or use hydrotherapy, it is safe to Float.

Interested in the research

    1. Effects of flotation-REST on muscle tension pain. Kjellgren A1, Sundequist U, Norlander T, Archer T. Pain Research Management, Winter 2001.
    2. The effects of floatation REST on the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Roderick Borrie, Tamara Russell, Stefan Schenider. Presented at Float Summit, 2012.
    3. REST for muscle contraction headaches: a comparison of two REST environments combined with progressive muscle relaxation training. Randy Rzewnick, Alistair B. C. Wallbaum, Howard Steele, Peter Suedfeld. Restricted Environmental Stimulation, 1990.
    4. A pilot study to evaluate the effects of floatation spa treatment on patients with osteoarthritis S. Hill, M.J.H. Eckett, C. Paterson, E.F. Harkness. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, December 1999.