In 1994 a young Australian cyclist named Brett Dennis rode off a cliff in the US Tour DuPont road race, falling 12 feet and smashing his femur through his hip socket. Doctors gave him little chance of walking properly again. Back home in Australia two weeks later, with a steel pin through his broken pelvis, Dennis was understandably depressed and near to giving up his sporting ambitions.
But at the Australian Institute of Sport, Dennis was put onto a program of intensive physiotherapy. He also spent an hour a day playing “mind games” — closing his eyes and visualising a blue light traveling from his chest to his hip joint, washing away damaged tissue and replacing it with new cells.
In our December 2013 newsletter, as we were laying the groundwork for our float center, we asked our readers if they’d like to come over and float in the Space Burrito. We figured we had time to handle five people, and imagined we might get about that many responses, maybe double that. We gave them some things to consider about our home float tank, and said:
If all that doesn’t seem too weird and you still want to come try out our vintage float tank, then write us a little something about floating and you. What about it appeals to you? Why do you want to try it? No need to write a term paper; a paragraph or two will do.
“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)
Last week I wrote about the Fibromyalgia Flotation Project and said “fibromyalgia is not well understood at all”. This week I found interesting new research, just published in June! Here’s a quick update.
For what I believe is the first time, a physiological mechanism for fibro symptoms has been found. This is important, and not just because it means that medications for the disease can now be contemplated. Fibromyalgia has been such a mysterious condition that many doctors have thought it might be entirely in the mind, or even faked. That at least should now be disproven, and a surprising new method of diagnosis is available.
Many scientific studies have attempted to quantify this effect. Does it have measurable biochemical effects? Does everyone experience it? If a person has tension headaches, for instance, does this relaxation effect actually help them? And if so, how long does the effect last?
One study done recently in Sweden says the answer is yes, and the effects seem to last for months.