Pain can be debilitating. Chronic pain can steal the days and make nights seem like they go on forever. A study from Gallup-Healthways showed that 47% of those surveyed reported some type of chronic pain. The majority, 36% reported chronic neck and back pain. The pain cycle intensifies with stress and lack of sleep, which are caused by the pain itself. It is a vicious cycle that has the potential to lead to depression and hopelessness.
Floatation, or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy, R.E.S.T. offers a non-toxic, healthy alternative to pain management. Roderick A Borrie, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at South Oaks Hospital, Amityville, New York and Thomas H. Fine, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry of the Medical College of Ohio, have researched Floatation R.E.S.T. for chronic pain with some interesting results. They found that Floatation benefits chronic pain patients greatly. The majority of patients that utilized Flotation R.E.S.T suffered from chronic pain for longer than six months and floated from one to 16 sessions. The most common causes of pain in this group of patients were from motor vehicle accidents, work accidents, or chronic illness. The participants reported a reduction in pain that averaged 31.3%! The highest level of relief was reported in the upper back at 63.6%.
The research on R.E.S.T therapy continues to pick up speed today, bringing evidence to the relief clients have found for years in Floatation Pods, Float rooms and Float tanks.
Swedish scientist Sven Ake Bood conducted a 2007 study on Floating and pain, he discovered that:
‘Through relaxing in Floating Tanks, people with long-term fibromyalgia, for instance or depression and anxiety felt substantially better after only twelve treatments… Relaxing in a weightless state in the warm Floatation tank activates the body’s own system for recuperation and healing. The findings confirm and reinforce our earlier studies on the effects of relaxing in a Floatation Tank’
Floating is an easy, natural and enjoyable way to free yourself from chronic pain without the use of drugs or invasive techniques.
Due to the weightlessness environment, sensory restriction and the 500kg of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) dissolved in the water, which is heated to skin temperature can aid with the relief of pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic osteo-arthritis, sports related injuries, migraines, back and joint pain and fibromyalgia.
Floatation therapy allows the spine to lengthen and pressure to be removed from the joints while enabling greater blood flow to reach affected areas of the body.
Floating causes the release of the endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural pain killers which block the transmission of pain signals at the level of nerve cells.
Pain relief associated with Floating allows chronic pain sufferers to break the cycle of pain-depression, enabling improved healing.
There are three major reasons why Floatation therapy works to relieve chronic pain.
1.The effects of gravity are removed and pressure on the back, neck, joints, muscles and tendons is alleviated. The release of this pressure increases blood flow to areas in need of healing.
2.Since the body doesn’t know what is happening (weightlessness, sensory input restriction) it begins producing elevated levels of endorphins and enkephalins which help to deal with pain. These natural painkillers may be more effective coupled with the pressure release of weightlessness and improved blood flow.
3.The reticular activating system, RAS, found in the brain stem (reptilian brain) normally responsible for alerting the body to ‘Fight or Flight’ responses and also responsible for regulating pain sensations, turns it focus away from external stimuli and begins focusing on internal stimuli. This redirection of the RAS toward internal stimuli allows Floaters to lose the sensation of being connected to the body. In addition, Floating also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the relaxation response. The release of tension in the body and lowering of stress hormones may also be responsible for the pain relief.
In 2011 an initial study was undertaken by Float Researcher Professor Rod Borrie in the US who noted the remarkable alignment between the effects and benefits of Floatation and the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Twenty-three volunteers completed a total of three one-hour floatation sessions, which were held five to seven days apart. Almost all of the volunteers were women aged 30 to 62. Across floatation sessions, decreases in muscle tension and pain were evident. For both variables, patients indicated a 25% reduction in the first session and a 33% reduction in the third session. Pain relief lasted an average of 2.5 days, and in the small sample (n=8) of patients who completed all trials and provided duration scores, the average progression was 1.9 days, 2.5 days and 3.2 days in order of floats. Statistical analysis revealed that during all floats the patient’s level of relaxation increased 30% on average and levels of stress decreased 30%.
We have worked with the Reading West Fibromyalgia support group and receive recommendations from the Pain Clinic at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
Here is a testimonial from one of our regular clients with chronic back pain due to spinal deterioration.
‘Again no pain in spine from major surgery, all gone and can walk properly and stand upright. What more could I ask for?’ – Molly, Purley-on-Thames
Contact us to find out more about how Floatation can help you effectively relieve pain and inflammation.
Floating Point Float Centre, Ground Floor, Bourne House, Horseshoe Road, Pangbourne, RG8 7JQ