Veterans across the U.S. are finding an extraordinary source of relief from their pain and PTSD thanks to floatation therapy, an alternative treatment for physical and emotional ailments.
’Floating’ consists of laying in a small pool filled with 10 inches of salt water containing roughly 1,000 pounds of magnesium sulfate – or as its more commonly known, Epsom salt. The high levels of salt counteract the effects of gravity, allowing the patient to float gently on top of the bed of water.
The water is heated to around 94.2 degrees Fahrenheit – about the same temperature as the human body – which creates the sensation of being suspended in air.
In the dark sound-free environment, the room, also known as a “sensory deprivation chamber” creates an atmosphere for meditation and deep contemplation, allowing the mind to enter the Theta state, which is the frequency at which the brain operates right before falling into deep sleep.
By depriving patients of sensory information, the experience allows for a safe and therapeutic environment with which veterans can experience significant relaxation—maybe even process past trauma.
Air Force veteran Trey Hearn was so convinced of the benefits of sensory deprivation for veterans, that he and his brother opened up Float Brothers in Destin, Florida. He told Military 1, he sees it as a way for the veteran to feel secure and safe enough to approach the suppressed traumatic events during a sort of “internal counseling session with themselves.”
33-year-old Wesley Hernandez is a veteran who has been undergoing flotation therapy since June in Nashville, Tennessee. He says that it has had a dramatic impact on his health.
“The last time I went, I didn’t even want to get out of the water; it’s an escape from the stress and the drama,” Wesley told Good News Network. “It’s like a deep meditation.”
This 2014 study shows that patients who underwent floatation therapy experienced reductions in blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and physical pain, as well as improvements in sleep quality and optimism.
Wesley’s wife and caregiver Leah told GNN that it’s the best therapy they’ve found, so far.
“Of all the therapies gifted to us by the Wounded Warriors Project, floating has been the one that he seems to want to do over and over.”