One of the reasons Float therapy has had such a positive impact on sufferers of PTSD is that it can be used to create a long-term change in the brain. Sessions can be scheduled every day if needed without harm to the skin or the body, but most people find that the positive effects of the float last longer than 24 hours, but regular sessions, weekly or biweekly, are recommended for PTSD sufferers.
On the contrary, taking medications only offer short-term results as the meds only work on the brain for a limited amount of time before wearing off and the next dose is needed usually only after a couple of hours or 24 hours at the most. While medications are absolutely necessary for some people, they do come with a long list of side effects, and there is a very real danger of overdosing if not used correctly. Finding alternative, drug-free, methods of handling the symptoms of the disorder is usually of the utmost importance for those with chronic symptoms.
In one experiment, veterans who suffered from PTSD were able to completely wean themselves off of their anxiety and depression medications by using float therapy. They also saw marked improvements in their sleep patterns after just three float sessions. This treatment can be revolutionary for the care of PTSD.
Physical Benefits for PTSD Sufferers
Although PTSD is a mental disorder, it also has a huge impact on the body and also produces physiological symptoms. Many people afflicted with the disorder have noted physical symptoms like rapid unintentional weight loss, increased sense of smell, migraines, night sweats, and nausea. Due to the feelings of stress and anxiety, patients also suffer from intense muscle fatigue, insomnia, back pain, and other nonspecific physical side effects.
Floating has been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of these physical symptoms, in addition to all the mental health benefits. When the body is weightless inside the tank, the stress on the muscles and joints fades away leaving you feeling more energized and well-rested. After experiencing complete sensory deprivation, those patients suffering from insomnia saw major improvements in their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Float therapy has also been known to decrease blood pressure due to the magnesium sulfate that the body is suspended in during a float.
The physical benefits of float therapy, especially on the intense pain and fatigue, make it a very beneficial treatment strategy for those suffering from PTSD or other health issues. Even just a few sessions in the sensory deprivation tank can make a marked improvement in your overall well-being.
Mental Benefits for PTSD Sufferers
The sensory deprived state of floating has been shown to help mental focus in most people, and that effect is particularly shown in those that float on a regular basis.
Those with PTSD can sharpen their mental focus as well which leads to the ability to stop the flood of memories in a flashback. It has also been shown to be helpful in learning how to control the breath and using it as a technique to breath away through the fear and reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.
Some studies have shown floating sessions to be good for memory retention, and it can also be used in behavior modification. For example, some participants have used the therapy for quitting smoking.
Neurologist Justin Feinstein founder of the Float Clinic and Research Center at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has studied the effects of float therapy and believes deeply in the positive effects of sensory deprivation. He has literally built his entire career around trying to prove just how beneficial the sessions can be. In his research, he has measured brain waves of study participants while they were in the float tank, and he has done MRIs immediately after the sessions. Dr. Feinstein and his team are observing and researching the actual effects the sensory deprivation tanks have on the brain’s activity, and they are finding that floating sessions have similar effects to those produced by prescription medication.
For those that suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, the mental benefits of sensory deprivation and float therapy are most important of all. Floating sessions make it easier to keep the mind on the present and build the self-control necessary to combat many of the mental symptoms of PTSD. The research in using float therapy to combat the disorder is ongoing and looking more and more promising with each completed study.
Flot, San Diego’s Float Spa
Flot is San Diego’s highest-rated float spa, and it also has the best pricing structure in the city. We offer discounts to military service members, senior citizens, and students. Sessions are either 1, 1.5, or 2 hours long, and membership packages are available for purchase.
While we recommend our sessions for those suffering from PTSD or other anxiety disorders, they are beneficial for everyone no matter your mental or physical health status. Use of the tank is not allowed for those currently suffering from an infectious disease or uncontrolled epilepsy.
Our isolation chambers are built by Float Lab Technologies and meet commercial safety and sanitation standards for commercial use. We also use a very specific Epsom salt provider that ensures our quality is above and beyond the USP rating. Before each session, our magnesium sulfate solution is purified by our patented filtration system that disinfects using a commercial grade Ozone oxidation and UV radiation. You can rest assured knowing that our disinfection system has been verified to kill 99.9% of all bacteria, viruses, molds, and fungi, but we never use harsh chemicals which are damaging to the skin. We are concerned with the sanitation and safety measures, so you don’t have to worry about anything except getting the most from your session.
Before a session, all participants shower using our organic soaps and shampoos, and if desired, the participant can shower again afterward to remove the salts from the hair and skin.
Even if you don’t normally float while swimming in a pool or in the ocean, you are guaranteed to float in the deprivation tank. The Epsom salts make the solution much more buoyant than water alone, even the salt water of the ocean. No matter your height or weight, you will float in the tank with the water reaching to about your temples, leaving your nose and mouth free for breathing.
In preparation for your float, we recommend avoiding a large meal immediately before your session and refraining from drinking a caffeinated beverage 30-min before the session. You also want to avoid alcohol as it will make it more difficult to relax in the tank. These simple instructions will help you get the most out of your sensory deprivation session.
It is advised that you do not shave the day of the session because the Epsom salt can cause stinging or an unpleasant sensation on the freshly shaved skin. Likewise, if you have any scratches or minor wounds, you will want to cover them with petroleum jelly to avoid an unpleasant burning or stinging once you enter the tank.
Flot Is Here When You Need Us
Whether you are suffering from chronic PTSD, everyday stresses, or another anxiety disorder, sensory deprivation therapy can be beneficial for you. There are so many benefits to the treatment sessions that you will find a new outlook on life. After only a few sessions, you will feel more relaxed, less stressed, and more focused. It is even a good remedy for basic jet lag!
While floating is not a guaranteed cure for any of your health conditions, and you should never stop any prescribed medications without your doctor’s consent. We also recommend discussing your desire to undergo sensory deprivation sessions with your primary care doctor before proceeding.
Ask about our military discount and the benefits sensory deprivation can have on your PTSD today. We are proud to serve you at one of our two San Diego locations: Downtown or North Park, and we are open from 9am-11pm daily.