Don’t let the title fool you, I really mean it. Floating can be magic for your pain. I’m not talking about floating in the air or in your pool. I’m talking about floating in a float tank.
This past weekend, my husband and I tried floating. A float tank is a special pod filled with water that’s about 18 inches in height. It has enough Epsom salt added to increase the density of the water. It’s this density that allows your body to float. And trust me, you float, it’s actually hard to do anything else but float.
Float pods are based on isolation pods that were originally created in 1954 by John C. Lilly for sensory deprivation studies. Turns out, sensory deprivation, in short amounts, is considered meditative and can help to bring total relaxation to the body. When you’re floating your cortisol levels lower — cortisol is released by the brain when we’re under stress. Some studies have shown that regular flotation can also relieve chronic pain.
The water is kept at 93.5 degrees, which is skin temperature. With the door to the pod closed, the water, your skin, and the air in the pod are all at the same temperature. You lose the boundary between water, body, and air. The float lasts at least 60 minutes or more. It takes about 40 minutes for us to let go of the constant thoughts our monkey minds bombard us (at least that’s how long it took me!) After a time, I forgot where I was and even fell asleep a couple of times. Although I woke myself up when I started to snore because snoring sounds weird when your ears are underwater. Even with earplugs!
After the float, I felt more relaxed than I had in a long time, but I was still experiencing some back pain. I’ve had it since our car was rear-ended 5 months ago. My husband, on the other hand, came out pain-free and that feeling lasted for several hours. Even a day later, while not pain-free, he said that it doesn’t feel as bad as it’s previously been. He’s not usually into what he considers my new-agey, mumbly-jumbly stuff, but after just one float, he’s already planning our next visit.
If you haven’t tried floating yet, then I recommend it as something you add to your list of new things to try. In Connecticut, we went to Surrender to the Float in Guilford.