“You’re one of the few reasons that I’ve left my house in the past 2 years”. We have heard this several times from experienced military veterans who live with PTSD. We are both honoured that you value our services enough to come see us and humbled that you feel safe enough here to share your vulnerabilities with us.
While these high-stress jobs keep our communities safe, they come with a significant cost. Sobering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have found that occupational stress in first responders can be associated with increased risk of serious mental health issues like anxiety, depression, substance misuse, PTSD, and suicidal behaviours.
As the website BCFirstRespondersMentalHealth.com explains, First responders are repeatedly exposed to distressing situations, violence, trauma, and death. They also encounter daily workplace stressors such as heavy workloads, rotating shifts, and, occasionally, discrimination and bullying. Some individuals experience an immediate detrimental impact; for others, the negative effects build up over weeks, months, or even years. Unfortunately, the Stigma associated with mental health conditions is still prevalent among first responders.
Many mental health professionals recommend a regular mindfulness practice and deep relaxation as part of the treatment plan. This is where floating can help.
Research is quickly catching up with the volumes of anecdotal stories how floating can help PTSD. Essentially, floating provides just a bit of ‘space’ between traumatic memories and the emotional charge they bring. This ‘space’ reprograms our brains to dissociate these traumatic memories from the stressful neurochemicals they usually release.
When you are floating, your body sends out signals via dopamine, reduced cortisol and physical relaxation that everything is “OK”. Although time in the tank can allow traumatic memories to bubble to the surface, the reduction of stress hormones prevents the body from triggering the same emotional response as it normally would.
Often, careers of service come with shift-work schedules and irregular sleep patterns. Floating can help reset your sleep cycle by helping your brain down-shift from Alpha waves into the Theta waves that act as the gateway to sleep. By floating, people’s brainwaves are naturally dropping into this Theta state, meaning their body can easily make the transition into the Delta waves required for REM sleep.
When you float, your body also absorbs Magnesium through your skin from the highly concentrated Epsom Salt solution. Magnesium is beneficial for sleep because it regulates several neurotransmitters involved in sleep such as , such as gamma aminobutyric acid.
A 90 minute float session can make you feel as refreshed as a 4 hour sleep.
Relief of Anxiety and Stress.
Floating can help you fight stress from the inside out. A solid float practice helps to build strength and peace of mind that you can take out into the world. In a recent study including 50 participants, floating was proven to reduce anxiety levels in 100% of the participants – a clinical success rate that is nearly unheard of. Floating lowers the levels of stress hormones including norepinephrine, adrenaline, cortisol and ACTH. Stress and stress-related illness including anxiety and depression are linked to elevated levels of these neurochemicals.
Floating activates your body’s relaxation response – reducing blood pressure, heart rate and muscular tension, and releases your ‘feel good’ hormones such as dopamine and endorphins. Post-float blissful feelings have also been proven to last at least 20 hours after your float.
The Magnesium that you absorb during your float also plays a critical role in brain function and mood. Low levels are linked to an increased risk of depression.
Floating may be a good fit for anyone whose mental-health care provider has recommended a regular mindfulness practice. Our very special Veteran and First Responder program aims to make a regular float practice very accessible to Police, Fire, Ambulance, Doctors and Nurses, Corrections Officers, Sheriffs as well as Veterans and those in active military service. Simply show one piece of ID and float for $39.
To read about additional benefits from floating, read HERE