South Central WI Archive
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2010
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Floatation therapy for athletes

If you’re familiar with floatation therapy you probably know that it is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress and relax the body and mind. But did you know that floatation therapy can be used for much more than stress relief? Professional athletes, great minds and artists all use floating to help them reach their full potential enhancing physical fitness, mental capacity and creative expression.

Anyone who’s ever lifted a free weight or jogged a mile knows that the harder you train, the stronger you become. Many, however, overlook the balance of working hard and recovery. If your body isn’t given the opportunity to heal between workouts it becomes overly fatigued, stressed and susceptible to injury. Athletes understand the importance of rest and recovery to their training, and floating is a great way to maximize performance.

Floating in the serene, warm water of the float tank reduces exercise-induced stress, lactic acid buildup and fatigue in the body. The Epsom salt saturated in the solution provides a healthy dose of magnesium, relaxing muscles and aiding in recovery. The buoyancy your body experiences also takes pressure off the joints and spine, allowing blood to flow freely, which reduces inflammation. All of this paired with adequate sleep allows elite athletes to train harder and more frequently — sometimes up to twice as often.

Floatation therapy can be a vital training tool for some of the most physically demanding professional sports on earth. Professional level football (American, Canadian and everywhere else), baseball, and mixed martial arts (MMA) all use floating to help their athletes train. Members of the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks utilized floating in their preparation leading up to Super Bowl XLIX. The Patriots had 3 float pods installed in their training facility in 2015. And Patriots QB Tom Brady even has a float tank in his home!

Rest and recovery aren’t the only reasons to step into the tank. The float tank is also a great place to mentally prepare through visualization. Visualization is the practice of picturing yourself completing a task or result in the future. If done thoughtfully, your subconscious mind becomes a self-guided missile helping you prepare for the outcome you most desire. No external distractions in the tank means you are able to meditate and visualize your goals effectively. Carl Lewis, considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time, famously used floating to visualize his gold medal wins at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

Science also shows that visualization can enhance learning, memorization and problem solving. The same principles used to visualize a gold medal performance can help you remember the periodic table or solve a complex mental problem. Once relaxed in the float tank your brain enters a relaxed, meditative state known as the theta wave state, which can bring forward heightened receptivity and forgotten memories. Pairing this state with an audiobook or recorded lecture, for example, can accelerate and enhance learning and retention.

Creativity can also be bolstered through floatation therapy. When in the float tank, the theta waves can induce a hypnogogic state, which naturally occurs in the moments before you fall asleep or when you first wake. This puts you in a mildly hallucinogenic frame of mind and can produce lucid imagery and dreams. More importantly, the left hemisphere of the brain that is associated with logic and reasoning is relaxed and balances with the creative right brain to produce hemispheric synchronicity, boosting creativity. Modern geniuses like John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, and Robin Williams understand the power of floating to enhance their creativity and craft. More recently, comedian and entertainer Joe Rogan has been spreading the word on how much floatation therapy helps him become more creative and balanced in his life.

Floatation therapy’s array of benefits extend far beyond an escape from everyday stress. Whether you’re training hard, studying hard or creating something beautiful, floating can help you do your best work. It enhances so many aspects of overall wellness that it’s no wonder it’s quickly becoming one of the best ways to repair, rejuvenate and open the mind.

Greg Griffin

Greg Griffin is the owner of Float Madison opening downtown this September. He has over 7 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. To achieve his goal of providing his neighbors in the Madison area with the best possible float experience, he apprenticed with the country’s largest float center. Greg also holds his first aid, CPR, AED and Pool Operator’s certifications. For more information, visit, email [email protected]or call 608-217-3524.

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