Float therapy (sometimes referred to as sensory deprivation flotation) is one of the more bizarre forms of therapy. It involves soaking in a man-made tank filled with a water and epsom salt solution that enables occupants to effortlessly float. The weightlessness achieved therein is undisputedly relaxing, but can it help sufferers with migraine relief? Here’s what you need to know to help you decide:
How Relaxing is Float Therapy?
Very! No matter the size of the person involved, the water and epsom salt solution provides 100 percent effortless buoyancy, just like the Dead Sea. This ease of floating allows occupants to relax without having to invest any postural effort. Additionally, the water temperature is set to the exact degree of your skin, negating the need for your body to self regulate warmth. Combined with solitude and soothing music, occupants of float therapy claim they slip into an almost zen-like state of relaxation.
How Does Relaxation Help with Migraine Relief?
Studies suggest that during supreme states of relaxation (like that achieved in float therapy), the body releases a higher concentration of endorphins (a group of hormones that act like natural painkillers). As muscles unwind, blood flow increases, countering blood vessel constriction that may be to blame for a migraine attack. Furthermore, it is believe that extreme relaxation causes a shift in brainwaves that elicits the body’s natural healing capabilities. When all of these components align, the body is able to recalibrate chemical and metabolic levels, preparing itself to better handle stress or other triggers that may lead to a migraine attack.
Is Float Therapy Safe for You?
The wonderful thing about float therapy is the fact that it is completely natural. Many migraine sufferers juggle countless medications, injections, supplements and devices in an effort to achieve migraine relief. Float therapy is medication-free, which means its safe for almost anyone to try. In fact, there are no recorded side effects at all. However, individuals that suffer from mental illness, including clinical depression, should speak with their physician before trying float therapy or consider another option for migraine relief. Also, float therapy may not be an ideal treatment choice for individuals with epilepsy that is not currently controlled with medication.
What to Expect During a Float Therapy Session
If you decide float therapy may help you achieve migraine relief, sessions are typically scheduled in 60-minute increments; however, longer sessions may be requested as desired. Session frequency will vary depending on the patient’s preferences. You will be escorted into a private room with a float tank and the option of soothing music. Once the attendant leaves the room, patients may undress and enter the tank. Some individuals fall completely asleep during float therapy and this is not only acceptable but encouraged. The natural buoyancy of the environment will prevent sleepers from drowning.
If you suspect your migraines may be the result of too much stress or physical tension, float therapy may be able to help prevent attacks. Before you dive in, schedule a consultation with your treating physician to discuss whether this treatment option is compatible with your unique condition.
Image Source: Helen P.