Weekend Wellness – The Benefits of Float Therapy

If you’re someone who likes to keep up on wellness trends, then chances are you’ve heard of floating. I’m no health guru by any means, but I love to try new things. Especially when they include floating in a mysterious tank that somehow makes you healthier. This might sound a little crazy, but that’s basically what floating entails. It’s safe to say I’m intrigued, but I want more info on the benefits before diving in (pun intended).

Float Therapy Benefits

What is Floating?

If you’ve never heard of floating before, you may think I’m a wacky hippie after this post. Basically, floating is considered some to be ‘weightless meditation’ because you are literally floating in purified water and 1,200 pounds of epsom salts… in the dark! The idea behind it is to engage in sensory deprivation in order to disconnect. Usually when I float (my favorite place is Urban Float in Fremont), my session is 60 minutes long. Before entering the float tank, I rinse off any skincare products and apply petroleum jelly to any cuts. Trust me, you don’t want to skip this step because any minor cut or scrape will burn like a mother once you’re in the salty water. Then I put in my ear plugs and get into the tank. The tank does have a lid, but if you’re worried about feeling claustrophobic, you can also leave it open. The same goes for turning off the lights. I had to work my way up to feeling comfortable with a closed tank and total darkness!

The water isn’t totally hot or cold… it’s more just a comfortable temperature. At the location where I float, you’re also able to request ambient sounds to be played or you can chill in silence. I pick based on the mood I’m in that day! Then, after you float, you rinse off in the shower, get dressed, and wait a little bit before picking up my phone to really let the relaxation linger.

The Benefits of Floating

First, before I get started, a lot of what I learned about the benefits of floating is anecdotal. Meaning once people experienced it, they talked about how it made them feel. There are some studies to back up what I share below, but from what I’m gathering, floating is one of those things you just have to try for yourself to see how it helps you.

Prevents and reduces muscle aches

This is probably the most well-documented benefit from a scientific standpoint, so if you’re an athlete or spend a lot of time in the gym, listen up! After a hard training session, hopping in a float tank loaded with Epsom salt can reduce the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. Lactic acid is what can cause soreness after a good workout, so sounds like a win-win to me because if you’re not sore, you can get back to whatever sport or workout you love doing, faster. As I start getting back into shape after my accident and for our wedding, my muscles have been so grateful for the reprieve that they get after a good flotation therapy session.

Reduces stress

There are lots of reports of people feeling extremely relaxed after floating, and I have to say, this is probably the most intriguing benefit from my perspective. Studies say after float sessions many people showed reduced cortisol (the hormone in our body that is released when we’re stressed out) levels, so this is a major perk in my book. I am one of those people who has a really hard time disconnecting (ahem, remember this post?), so being in total darkness in a sensory deprivation tank really helps with that. If I am able to get away from my phone and tech, I find that I am a much less stressed out person!

Lowers blood pressure

And a potential side effect of feeling less stressed is lower blood pressure. After all the craziness with our kitchen reno and plumbing issues, I could definitely benefit from some lower blood pressure right about now, let me tell you. Having less stress and good blood pressure usually also mean better sleep, too, which who doesn’t want that?

Provides an opportunity for meditation

I thought this was a very interesting benefit. It’s more on the anecdotal side and probably varies by person, but based on the research I’ve done, a lot of people say they love floating for the inadvertent opportunity to meditate. I love this! Sometimes meditating can feel like just another thing on my to do list, so being able to do it in such a calm, serene space sounds amazing. I typically play one of my favorite meditation apps and I really do feel like it helps the anxiety and depression reduce.

Boosts creativity

OK, this benefit pushes it over the edge for me (in a good way)! I’m always down to boost my creativity. This study showed jazz musicians were better able to improvise while performing after floating. How cool is that? I usually find that post float, I am much more relaxed and able to perceive things more clearly.

So, what do you think? Would you add floating to your wellness routine in hopes of reaping some of these benefits? I think it sounds worth trying!

Read more of our Wellness posts here.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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