Professional athletes have used floating therapy—the process of being weightlessly suspended in a ton of Epsom salt water—to heal themselves for years. Studies show the floating practice accelerates the speed of recovery from sports related injuries. It also helps athletes experience significant reduction from pain and muscle aches. In addition, athletes receive substantial mental and physiological benefits from floating. How is this possible? The list of contributing factors to athlete recovery and the science behind it is listed here:
Getting Your Mind Right Before the Game
The ability to think clearly and quickly is crucial to professional athletes. Athletes need to focus and stay calm before and during a big game. Floating reduces the production of lactate levels in the blood stream, which allows for heightened mental clarity and increased strategic thinking. When athletes float before a game, they are able to reach a deep meditative theta state. In the theta state, the brain has the ability to visualize past training routines enabling the athlete to mentally simulate the perfect game scenario, which increases actual game performance.
Get Your Muscles Ready for Game Time
More sports injuries occur from muscle tension or pulled muscles than from direct physical contact. The best way for athletes to avoid injury is to loosen their muscles properly before a game. With float therapy, all of the pressure of body weight and gravity are removed and any build up of adrenaline, cortisol, and lactate is flushed out. In addition, red blood cells increase and blood circulates through the body more efficiently. The result is full-body relaxation. Relaxed muscles means fewer sports injuries.
After the Game
Athletes are unable to reach optimal performance when their muscles are strained or overworked. Exerting the body when it’s overworked leads to pain, muscle stiffness and fatigue. However, when you float, these problems are greatly reduced and sometimes removed completely. This is because the non-gravity atmosphere of the float tank gives all of your joints and muscles a break. This promotes healing of muscle strain and injury, but it also prevents more serious injuries to athletes in the future. The high levels of magnesium sulfate in your float tank relaxes sore muscles and builds protein in your joints, which helps to accelerate recovery time so you become game ready faster.
Floating is a practice. The more you do it, the more you will benefit mentally and physically. The research of neurosurgeon Dr. John Turner and psychologist Thomas H. Fine shows that floating significantly reduces pain, and in some cases produces euphoric states. Their work indicates that your body releases endorphins and natural opiates during a float session that activates the pleasure centers of your brain. Dr. Fine reported, “practically all patients suffering from chronic pain claimed that they had forgotten their pain while floating.”
Float therapy helps athletes prepare their muscles and joints before a game, exponentially improve performance during a game and recover faster after a game. You’re going to play anyway, have your team schedule a session at your nearest float center so they play at their maximum level.