Fit to Float - Float to Fit?
As floating makes its way into the public consciousness we are seeing an uptick in clients using float therapy as a sports recovery tool. From Olympic medal winners, CrossFit athletes and national teams to local clubs and regular gym goers – floatation is integrating into the world of fitness and recovery. For any athlete, fighter and sportsperson, floating can offer considerable training benefits both mentally and physically.
It is widely acknowledged that floatation aids faster recovery from injury, however, providing the opportunity for full and complete recovery between sessions can also safeguard your joints which reduces the risk of future strain and injury. One of the main physical benefits of float therapy is reduced muscle soreness and tension, allowing tendons and ligaments to rest and reset in a way that is unique to floatation. The “zero-gravity” weightless experience in the tank entirely removes the constant low-level pressure on the muscles and joints that us usually caused by gravity, creating a heightened state of physical relaxation.
The warmth of the water and weightless sensation combined allows your body to fully relax. As a result, breathing slows and as your oxygen intake lowers so does your blood pressure. Significantly, while this is happening your red blood cell distribution and blood flow increases, clearing excess adrenaline build up and aiding speedy recovery to any tired or injured areas. This not only improves circulation overall, but also dramatically lower blood lactate levels after a 60-minute session. Meanwhile, the big intake of magnesium absorbed through the skin aids the body in protein creation and soothes your circadian pattern for a deep and restful sleep
While your body is reaping the more tangible rewards of floatation, arguably the biggest benefit is for your mind. Floatation and sensory derivation is proven to combat the effects of stress on your body (such as training) as it removes your mentality from “fight or flight” and shifts to a state of rest and digest. This deep relaxation is meditative, forging a deeper body connection and evoking that intuitive awareness of how your body feels, allowing you to listen to your body. While this mind-body understanding is important for everyone, it is crucial for athletes in the way they work with their bodies during training. By stimulating left/right brain synchronicity, floatation facilitates access to a deep meditative state by shifting brainwaves from Beta to the lower frequency Alpha, Theta and Delta. This is key for visualisation and mental preparation which is a crucial part of athletic performance in the run up to an event.
Many studies look at the effects of floatation from the perspective of REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy). This aptly named area of observation has repeatedly concluded that the real power of a floatation session lies in its effect on your sleep. Athletes who sleep better are more well rested and ultimately perform better. Float therapy leads to a deeper, higher-quality sleep, which in turn promotes muscle growth and recovery, faster reaction times, and improved overall performance. So, whether you’re training for your next race day, looking for your team to have the edge this season or simply want a better recovery after the gym – why not follow the lead of many world class athletes and see what floatation can do for you?