Floatation therapy is emerging as a valid and effective means for managing several conditions including anxiety, fatigue, and pain, all symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia effects an estimated 3 – 6% of the world’s population. It is a debilitating and painful rheumatic type disease characterized by a dull ache or throbbing pain throughout the entire body. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown but some studies suggest serotonin and magnesium deficiencies play a role in the condition. Many scientists also believe that symptoms of fibromyalgia are intensified by emotional and physical stress.
The history of Floatation-REST research dates back to the 1950’s. Dr. Jay Shurley and Dr. John Lilly from the National Institute of Mental Health started a study to better understand how the human brain would respond to an environment devoid of external stimuli. Rather than falling asleep or losing consciousness, it was discovered that participants maintained full awareness and had a variety of responses, both physically and mentally. Research is ongoing. The data has consistently shown that floatation therapy has a positive impact on physical and mental well-being, improving symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, and pain.
There is no known cure for fibromyalgia and treatment plans vary significantly based on symptoms. To achieve symptom relief many sufferers are prescribed a cocktail of medications such as diazepam, naproxen, and tramadol. Like most pain medications, the longer they are used the higher the risk is that they become ineffective or less effective. Escalating doses can be dangerous and does not always yield positive benefits for symptom relief. With anxiety and depression so closely linked to fibromyalgia, many patients are also prescribed antidepressants. Adding floatation therapy to your treatment routine can aid in symptom relief without the side effects often experienced with medications.
Floatation Therapy to treat fibromyalgia is a natural option for sufferers, since it directly treats many of the symptoms of the disease. Floatation therapy research has shown that it can improve sleep, reduce stress and pain, and increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is an essential chemical and neurotransmitter in the body. Scientists believe that serotonin plays a key role in regulating mood, sleep, and memory function, all challenges faced by fibromyalgia patients.
The results for the Fibromyalgia Flotation Project study were presented at the 2012 Float Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden. The data showed that fibromyalgia patients experienced “significant relief” with floatation therapy. On average participants experienced a 2.3-point reduction (out of a 11-point scale) in pain immediately following a float session. After several floats it was suggested that there can be long-term cumulative benefits with ongoing float therapy.
As research continues, the data shows that floatation therapy can:
Reduce pain and muscle tension
Reduce stress levels
Improve quality of sleep
How often should I float?
How often you should float is based on expectations and goals. The first priority should be consistency, whether you choose to float weekly or bi-weekly, keep up a routine to achieve maximal benefits. To address symptoms of fibromyalgia we would recommend weekly to three times a week depending on how severe the symptoms are that you are trying to address.
How long should I float?
At Blue Water Wellness we offer two standard session lengths, 60 and 90-minutes but can customize session lengths if desired. Generally, we recommend that first time floaters start with a minimum of 60-minutes to get the most benefit. Most research is based on 60-minute sessions and this is the most popular place to start when beginning a new routine to treat fibromyalgia symptoms.
Click here to learn about our float room and the process of floating.