Related Methods of Recovery: Float Therapy

by Lindsay Miller
with Pure Sweat + Float Studio

Of all the cutting-edge recovery methods available today, float therapy might just be the most relaxing. Also known as sensory deprivation therapy, floating is one of the recovery services Pure Sweat + Float Studio offers at its two locations in Belle Meade and Cool Springs. You’ll spend 40 or 60 minutes floating peacefully in its state-of-the-art flotation pod filled with 95-degree water and nearly 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. The density of the Epsom salt solution makes the water so buoyant that your body becomes weightless, levitating on the surface. To further the effect, Pure Sweat + Float Studio’s contemporary float pods have customizable features to create your optimal healing environment, including ambient lighting, calming music, and an adjustable lid that can remain open or closed.

Float therapy relies on the weightlessness created by large amounts of Epsom salt to enhance the recovery process. The lack of gravity and pressure on your joints and muscles provide a therapeutic context for them to rest and relax, while your skin absorbs the healing effects of magnesium sulfate (the ingredients of Epsom salt). It has been shown to reduce lactic acid and inflammation brought on by sore muscles, speeding up recovery time for those aches and pains. Owner of Pure Sweat + Float Studio, Candice Bruder, says “We’ve helped a lot of people in pain. Floating is great to integrate with rigorous training and high impact sports. If you don’t properly recover your body, you can’t sustain the constant workload. It’s essential to performance.”

It’s no surprise that float therapy has been growing in popularity among elite athletes. Basketball star Steph Curry is a devoted Floater and Tom Brady even has a pod in his own home. Bruder says, “We’ve welcomed athletes from the Titans to the Vanderbilt Basketball team and even the Nashville Ballet. Interestingly, some athletes will float the day before a game. It gives them A-game focus. We also utilize the same float pods as the New England Patriots.”

Along with easing tight muscles, one study at UC Irvine confirms that floatation therapy is a “long-lasting and versatile treatment” for chronic tension headaches. The zero-gravity state soothes an array of chronic pain like arthritis, fibromyalgia, back and neck discomfort, inflammation and tendonitis. Dedicating the time to truly rest your full body will decrease muscular tension, accelerate full-body recovery, and potentially boost overall athletic performance.

Research shows that floating measurably reduces your blood pressure and heart rate, which will also lower stress levels. Even if you aren’t an athlete and just need to recover from a long day at work, the zero-gravity effect will fight a long list of issues brought on by high stress and anxiety. Lowering your blood pressure also insures significant preventive measures and risk reduction in strokes and heart attacks.

One of the most popular experiences of float therapy is the ability to simply R-E-L-A-X. According to the CDC, stress will be the second most debilitating disease by 2020. Numerous reviews of Pure Sweat + Float Studio have expressed their experience as an incredibly effective and accessible way to reduce stress related symptoms. “Everybody has stress, and it’s remarkable how it debilitates our mind, body and spirit,” says Meredith Lile, Owner of Pure Sweat + Float Studio, Cool Springs. “Creating time to remove that stress is truly a necessity for vitality.” In nationwide studies, participants encountered elevated moods, better sleep, and reduced cortisol levels. “It’s like having the feeling and benefits of a deep power nap,” says Bruder.

The brain’s response to floating is also quite phenomenal. Our brain waves are in constant motion and continually producing waves at multiple frequencies. Of the five main frequencies, sensory deprivation targets what is known as the Theta state, which is a drastically slower state for brain waves. It is most common during deep meditation and just before falling asleep. It is also the first phase in which we begin to dream. Theta waves are always creative, characterized by feelings of inspiration and usually combined with vivid imagery, very clear and creative thoughts, sudden insights, and feelings of happiness. This is all thanks to the release of endorphins, the body’s natural opiates.

Because float therapy is known to stimulate creativity, it has become a common practice for major business owners and artists to accelerate mental clarity and learning. It also provides an avenue for practicing or developing a deeper meditation.  “Some people, like me, have a hard time meditating at home or even relaxing. When I float, I have no choice but to unplug and let go. I need that context. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we quiet our minds and listen within,” says Bruder.

The benefits of floating will help achieve a shorter recovery time from anything performance or injury related, along with issues due to stress. Floatation therapy not only helps you relax, but puts you in a state of mental and physical weightlessness allowing for a ridiculous amount of health related benefits. From lower back pain to writer’s block, a visit to Pure Sweat + Float Studio could very well provide that method of recovery you have been looking for. It’s a quick and easy trip to pure relaxation.