From time to time we like to turn over the microphone to other people. This guest post is from Float staffer Shayna C. – Sara
Now that I am a staff member at Float Boston, I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to float regularly (thanks, Sara and Colin!). Many of the immediate effects of frequent floatation are predictable enough: better sleep, fewer muscle aches, being physically unable to shut up about how great it is. Some of the other unforeseen results of regular visits to the tank took me by surprise. Perhaps you can relate? Continue reading Guest post: the small, unexpected benefits of floating→
“I remained happy, and carried with me the positive feeling into the next two days. It was almost a ‘celebratory’ feeling. One that has not been produced by any other medications, therapies, or methods of dealing with the individual diagnoses I live with. I didn’t feel the need for the anti-anxiety medications for nearly two days. Which, in my current state, almost never happens.” —Andrew
“Andrew” is a real person, though that’s not his real name. Over the last two years he’s been clinically diagnosed with Treatment-Resistant Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, and Anxiety Disorder. He has worked with trauma therapists and all the resources in the Boston area, including MGH and McLean hospital. He’s even gone so far as to participate in clinical studies at MGH for current drug trials that are being studied for his particular diagnosis. To date, nothing has significantly improved his quality of life, and is left with very few options short of electroconvulsive therapy.
He contacted us, wanting to know if he could try floating before committing to anything so drastic as ECT. Sara and I gave it a little thought and said, you know what, helping someone like this is exactly why we want to open FLOAT. We offered a series of three floats over three weeks, if he would write up his experiences before and after so that we could share them here.
[After my third float] I felt calm and happy, an experience I can’t remember having in a long time. So much so that I was unfamiliar with it, and didn’t know what to do with the positive happy feeling. I know how to take care of myself in the dark troubling times, but over the last few years, have lost the innate knowledge of how to feel happy, and what to do with that time.
This is an anecdote – one person’s experience, and no kind of clinically controlled trial. Please interpret with caution. Still we were thrilled with the results, and are excited to share them here.
A float tank contains a lot of epsom salt. Like, a lot a lot. Eight hundred to a thousand pounds each, to make the water so dense you literally can’t help but float.
People sometimes wonder, though, why epsom salt? It’s hardly the easiest thing we could lay our hands on in bulk. Most importantly, it’s harmless to soak in for long periods, and it doesn’t cause the itchy, pruny feeling you get from soaking in sea salt. But there are other benefits.
Epsom salt is called that because it was first produced from natural springs at Epsom, England, around 1618, and from 1695 chemists and pharmacies were selling purified “bitter salts” all over England. For three hundred years since it’s been used to cure just about anything, from muscle aches to skin health, foot odor, wrinkles, psoriasis, eczema, mosquito bites, bruises, inflammation, hangovers, migraines, constipation, and the common cold.
Do any of these really work? Let’s look at the science.
One of the most common causes of insomnia is simple stress. And loss of sleep not only makes it harder to deal with the outside stress in your life, but it is itself stressful. It’s a vicious circle.
There are well-known remedies, but most have equally well-known drawbacks. Most drugs are actively habit-forming, or at least have diminishing returns if you rely on them. Meditation can be very powerful, but requires disciplined practice and focus to achieve, practice that becomes harder to do when stressed out and short on sleep.
“It’s just that I am feeling so heavy, cumbersome and sore this pregnancy that I would love to feel weightless if only for an hour.”
As always, check with your health care provider first, for any conditions that might be specific to you. Many women, though, report that they find wonderful relief from the stress of pregnancy in a tank. The dense Epsom salt-laden water gently takes up all the unaccustomed weight you’re bearing, and gives respite to your strained joints.
“I was eight months pregnant when I floated for the first time. Pregnancy takes a toll on every muscle in your body, especially your torso. Ironically, the times when you get a chance to rest is when the baby becomes more active and its weight continues to put stress on your muscles. While floating, I expected the baby to be very active, but was pleasantly surprised. Since there was no pressure from any side, the baby didn’t feel the need to kick or roll around. It was the best rest I’ve had in several months. I would recommend floating to anyone, pregnant or not, for a time of physical and mental renewal.”
(Heather Warren, Oakland, CA)