Does float therapy reduce back pain?
Just 60 minutes in a floatation tank (sometimes referred to as a sensory deprivation tank) can have significant benefits for both physical pain and mental health.
Apart from stress relief, Floatation therapy is actually sometimes used in military and healthcare environments, in essence using states of deep relaxation in which the body overall can recover faster.
Floating can also aid sleep and stress (problems with which can exacerbate inflammation), meaning a regular float therapy practice can make it less likely to feel the onset of back pain and inflammation.
Anyone who has experienced chronic pain will know, it can prevent you from functioning normally, and make an active lifestyle a lot more difficult!
How does float therapy actually work?
There are many natural healing processes that the body speeds up during floating. Key areas with reducing inflammation and back pain are thought to be the increase in vasodilation (enabling improved blood circulation, reduced blood pressure, faster lactic acid flush) and the rebalancing of hormones which influence the nervous system.
Numerous studies have shown that the stress hormone cortisol levels reduce on average by 20% per session, with adrenaline also reducing over the course of your time in a float tank. Both of these hormones are used to keep the body alert, meaning that natural healing processes are slowed down.
An interesting point is that due to the increase in interoceptive awareness, meaning that initially, you might be more aware of your chronic pain or discomfort from old injuries, as you feel it melt away.
It seems worth also pointing out that floating in 550kg of Epsom salts completely removes external pressures, offering a feeling of weightlessness you’re unlikely to have experienced anywhere else (unless you’ve floated before or are an astronaut!).
Why do the hormones matter?
It’s thought that by reducing stress hormones, the body is able to enter deeper healing processes, in effect accelerating the body’s natural healing versus a stressed state.
Other hormones that are affected are beta-endorphins and dopamine, both of which can see an increase in secretion during floating or sensory deprivation. Beta-endorphins, in particular, are sometimes referred to as natural painkillers, and having more of them naturally produced can be a great way to cut the use of medications that could have harmful side effects.
Research supports the effectiveness of floatation therapy for pain relief
This article on www.paindoctor.com cites several credible studies, which consistently show benefits for the majority of people who use floating or sensory deprivation therapy.
Thomas H. Fine, Associate Professor from the Department of Psychiatry of the Medical College of Ohio, found:
“[F]lotation REST can have an important role at several stages of the pain management process. By reducing both muscle tension and pain in a relatively short time and without effort on the part of the patient, flotation provides a dramatic demonstration of the benefits of relaxation. Relief is immediate and, although temporary, offers the promise of further relief from REST and other relaxation-based strategies. Symptom reduction gained from flotation can increase a patient’s motivation and interest in the remainder of the therapy plan. Pain patients generally come into treatment feeling suspicious and sceptical, requiring a clear demonstration that they can be helped.”
Should I try floating?
All of these benefits can also extend to sufferers of other pain or nervous system issues such as fibromyalgia, PTSD or pregnancy-induced back discomfort. We have seen people from each of the following groups report feeling much improved after a float session in one of our state of the art pods:
· Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis
· People with chronic inflammation leading to back pain, neck pain or muscle pain
· People experiencing muscle tension or stress headaches
· Customers with sciatica
· Clients on long term recovery from back injury or surgery
To summarise, floating can be one of the most effective, healthiest ways to ease back pain or inflammation.
Book your float with us today to see how it works for you, and you might just find your new long term solution to managing your chronic pain.
Float Hub has 6 of the largest, most advanced pods available anywhere in the world. As far as we know, ours are the only type of pods in the UK to fully empty between each cycle, guaranteeing 100% filtration every time – with the most advanced hygiene systems available.
Due to this, we were one of only 2 float centres in the UK allowed to reopen during the 2020 lockdown, and we still maintain the highest standards, to offer the best float experience available today.