Countless studies have highlighted the positive effects of floating on mental and physical conditions. A recent study focused on how floating helps people experiencing chronic, stress-related pain, particularly in the shoulders. The study’s implications are highly positive for men and women, though the sexes may perceive benefits differently. If you struggle with chronic shoulder pain, a float session at NWFC may help.
The Most Recent Study
The most recent study connecting floatation treatment and shoulder pain was done circa 2009 and published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The study included 88 participants (19 men and 69 women). The participants had received physicians’ diagnoses of chronic stress-related muscle tension pain. They underwent floatation treatment 12 times over the course of seven weeks. Before and after floatation treatment, the subjects underwent experimentally induced pain. After floatation treatment, some subjects, notably the men, reported higher tolerance levels for this type of pain, as well as better tolerance of stress and depression.
How Floatation Treatment Works
For the study outlined above, as well as similar studies, subjects undergo treatment in a sensory deprivation environment, usually two treatments per week for six weeks. The subjects are placed in sensory deprivation tanks filled with extremely salty water. In some cases, the water’s saline content is higher than that of the Dead Sea. The salt keeps the subjects buoyant, which eliminates the need for them to know how to swim. For optimum benefits, subjects are closed inside the deprivation tank via a thin and easily opened lid. Northwest Float Center recommends staying completely closed in your tank during a session, although you can leave the tank slightly open if you feel claustrophobic.
How Floatation Helps Shoulder Pain
The study outlined above documented no conclusive evidence related to pain reduction. However, studies have shown the deep relaxation associated with floatation calms stress hormones. When stress hormones do not send signals to the brain, that person is less likely to experience chronic stress-related pain and tension. Studies prove these effects can last as long as four months after floatation treatment, longer if subjects continue scheduling sessions on their own. Floatation therapy has proven helpful in treating specific muscle pains such as shoulder pain, in addition to diseases like fibromyalgia. Ongoing conditions may require more float sessions over longer periods.
Along with helping relieve chronic pain and tension, regular floatation treatment has been shown to reduce blood pressure, alleviate depression symptoms, and improve floaters’ focus at work and school. To learn more or to schedule your own float session, contact NWFC today.