For those who haven’t experienced it, it can be hard to imagine the horrors of PTSD. And because post-traumatic stress can result from a wide variety of impactful events, the condition strikes everyone who suffers from it just a little differently.
Military veterans who have experienced the horrors of war have traditionally been some of the hardest-hit by the disorder, often suffering the ripple effects of their ordeals for years, if not even decades after their enlistment comes to an end. Anxiety, depression, insomnia, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts are all common symptoms that sufferers must find ways of dealing with.
Because of this, therapists, counselors, and medical practitioners have attempted to alleviate PTSD in a variety of ways. Some find relief via medication. Others are helped by talk therapy, or cognitive exercises.
But as floatation therapy grows in popularity, many veterans who suffer from PTSD have indicated incredibly positive results from getting in the tank for a good float. The secure feeling of the enclosure, removal of sensory input, and complete environment of calm all combine to impart levels of peace and tranquility many veterans say it’s difficult to achieve any other way.
A recent scientific floatation therapy study published by the National Institutes of Health backs up these benefits. In an attempt to gauge “psychological and physiological variables such as stress and energy, depression and anxiety, optimism, pain, stress, [and] sleep quality…” float sessions were shown to offer serious benefits to participants as opposed to the no-float control group. According to the findings, “stress, depression, anxiety, and worst pain were significantly decreased whereas optimism and sleep quality significantly increased.”
Further, a pair of 2018 studies headed by clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Justin Feinstein showed a significant link between floating and PTSD relief. The conclusion of the first round of research found, in part: “Floatation-REST generated a significant anxiolytic effect characterized by reductions in state anxiety and muscle tension. and increases in feelings of relaxation and serenity…significant blood pressure reductions were evident throughout the float session…”
Study #2 showed similar results. “…[T]he float experience induced a reduction in self-reported state anxiety that was evident across all 50 participants…Significant reductions were observed in state anxiety, stress, muscle tension, pain, depression, and negative affect. There was also a substantial improvement in mood characterized by increases in serenity, relaxation, happiness, positive affect, overall well-being, energy levels, and feeling refreshed, content and peaceful.”
Even further, a recent TIME Magazine article highlighted the case of Michael, an Australian combat veteran who served in Afghanistan. After experiencing a particularly traumatic combat event he found himself all but unable to function, suffering tremors, sleeplessness and emotional turmoil. In an attempt to find relief, he tried therapy, prescription drugs, yoga, juicing, and self-medication via alcohol and cannabis. None yielded the results he was hoping for.
Desperate, Michael’s wife researched alternative therapies online. There, she discovered many veterans had reported overwhelmingly positive results from floating.
Michael gave floating a shot, not expecting it would be any more effective than anything else he’d tried. But much to his surprise, he emerged refreshed after his first session. After three floats, his anxiety was all but gone. Three months in, he was no longer waking up in a cold sweat at night.
As Michael told TIME: “After floating, I was really mellowed out, I’m not really sure how it does it, but I do know that floating has allowed me to feel a more confident, comfortable headspace.”
Other service vets have been so impressed with floating that they’ve not only adopted tank time as a component of their personal self-care, but they’ve worked to help others do the same.
According to a recent article on Military.com, a man named Chris Hearn was so impressed with floating’s therapeutic potential that he opened a float center called Float Brothers in Florida’s Gulf Coast. His brother Trey – an Air Force vet – is his partner in the venture.
According to Chris, “People in pain, particularly chronic pain, can experience both immediate and long-term relief from floating. The water in a float tank contains almost a thousand pounds of magnesium sulfate, which makes floating effortless by eliminating gravitational pull and dispersing the body weight. For an arthritis sufferer, a pregnant woman or anyone else dealing with sore muscles and joints, a float session can be a 60- to 90-minute vacation from pain.”
A Nashville-area vet named Wesley Hernandez told Good News Network that he found float therapy through the Wounded Warriors Project, and that’s it’s really helped him. He indicated that incorporating float therapy into his routine 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…like a deep meditation.”
Wesley’s wife and caretaker Leah echoed his sentiment, saying: “Of all the therapies gifted to us by the Wounded Warrior Project, floating has been the one that he seems to want to do over and over.”
Texas Veteran Cody Austill was diagnosed with chronic PTSD upon returning from a deployment in Afghanistan. He told his hometown TV news team that floating helped him step away from a dozen different prescriptions for depression and anti-anxiety meds in favor of a more natural approach.
“It allows me to not be distracted by everything else around me, and purely focus on what’s going on with me,” he said. “I did my first float, and it was very amazing to me. I was able to put in line three years of stuff that was trapped in my head in pretty much an hour session.”
As with most therapeutic practices, everyone has a different experience. But the best way to find out if floating can help you? Give it a try. And all through the month of November, veterans and active-duty service members can do so for FREE. No strings, no catch, no obligation, and no kidding. All month long, veterans can float up to three times at absolutely zero cost. Just call us or visit to book an appointment, and tell us you’ve served. We’ll book your session. Then, when you get here, just bring your military ID, and your first three floats are on us.
Also: if you’d like to bring a family member, they’re eligible for a deep discount – a big 60% off our regular price.
Please consider this our way of saying “thanks for your service.”
Real talk: Anxiety is one of the most common issues America faces.
According to some estimates, more than 18% of Americans endure some form of anxiety. That’s more than 40 million people. Yet, out of that staggering number, only about one in three seeks treatment for it.
If you’re an anxiety sufferer, you know how debilitating a condition it can be. Granted, no two people stricken by anxiety experience it the same way. But regardless of the type, frequency or severity of the symptoms, we can all agree that the condition can have a real impact on our overall quality of life.
And while anxiety can stem from a variety of sources ranging from genetics to trauma, one thing is clear: the therapeutic benefits of floating have been shown to have a significant, measurable impact on the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental unrest.
All of us seek calm in our daily lives. Just waking up in the morning and anticipating the struggles we’ll face during our daily routines can sometimes have an impact on our emotional state. Jobs, family, money, responsibilities, obligations…The demands we face can often feel overwhelming even under the best of circumstances.
Now, add clinical-level anxiety into the mix. Suddenly, even the most basic tasks become impossible. Simple routines generate fear. Small inconveniences can feel like insurmountable obstacles. And even academically understanding these emotions to be baseless doesn’t help, since it can be easy-to self-talk into feeling guilty and foolish due to having stress you “don’t have to.”
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to just shut all of it out for a little while? Fall into complete relaxation, clear your mental slate of all the pressure of your responsibilities, and reset your mood to a default state?
Yeah, we thought so, too. That’s why Float Milwaukee is here.
So what can a float do for you?
Truly, no two float experiences are the same. No two floaters bring the same frame of reference to the experience, so everyone gets something different from it. That said, many floaters do describe consistent effects regardless of their reasons for coming in. The overwhelming majority tell us that they leave the float feeling calmer than when they began. More relaxed. Possessed of a sharper mental focus. Clearer.
To put a far more academic point on it, a 2018 study found that people who underwent float therapy as a means of attempting to attain relief from mental discomfort had overwhelmingly positive take-aways from the experience. All participants in the experiment reported “significant reductions in stress, muscle tension, pain [and] depression…accompanied by a significant improvement in mood characterized by increases in serenity, relaxation, happiness and overall well-being.”
Wow. What a ringing endorsement!
Many of our customers here at Float Milwaukee have described similar relief from stress and anxiety. Here’s what just a few of our valued friends had to say about their experiences at Float (reprinted with their permission):
“I often suffer from too many thoughts rushing through my mind and never just being in the moment. Floating allowed me to completely relax and clear my mind. I felt completely rejuvenated after! Thank you for the great experience!”
“I’m trying to achieve clarity and focus right now as my life is in a major transition. Float really helped me with something I always struggled with, attaining inner solace.”
“When finished, I never felt so clean and refreshed! Very purifying and transformative for those wanting to ‘let go’.”
“I had an enlightening float and can’t wait to go back! Felt relaxed and clear-headed right away, with the sense of calmness staying with me for hours afterward.”
“I was very apprehensive going in but once I settled in and consciously relaxed it was an amazing, weightless, daydream-ish experience. I left feeling energized and relaxed at the same time. I would definitely do this again!”
We’re always touched when people have a good experience, and even more so when they’re willing to share it. And obviously, any therapeutic practice works differently for different people. But floaters overwhelmingly express a sense of inner peace as a result of their experience, so we’re confident that anyone who enters the water will come out better for having done so.
When you’re ready to find out how floating can help you overcome what ails you, CLICK HERE to book your float. We look forward to helping you get the best of your stress.
Even saying it out loud makes some people uncomfortable. But given recent estimates from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one out of every five Americans will suffer from some form of mental illness during their lifetimes.
Sadly, the fluid nature of the mind coupled with a general misunderstanding of possible treatments means that mental illness doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. After all, we can splint a broken leg. Send antibiotics after a sinus infection. Even pursue specialized surgery for heart disease. But when it comes to healing the mental state? The challenge increases exponentially.
To put a finer point on it: Most hearts are basically the same, anatomically speaking. But the mind? No two have ever been alike. That’s why any course of therapy that shows promise with treating things like anxiety, depression, and bipolarity should really be given its due diligence.
Fact: there are almost as many reasons people suffer from mental illness as there are individuals who do. We may have progressed far enough to have identified certain sets of conditions that apply to general, definable maladies, yes. But nobody can really say for sure what the common underlying causes are, since everyone’s life experience is so different.
That said, we are living in a high-stress environment; one in which countless demands are placed upon our time, and energy. If we could simply enjoy our lives and didn’t have to fight every day to survive, the impact for mental illness could be a lot lower. The fact is, most of us do have a lot of responsibility. We can’t all just live a life of breezy leisure.
So the demands of a modern world require a range of contemporary solutions. In a lot of ways, we’re on our own out there…and we need to take things into our own hands. That means finding ways to practice self-care. Because if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will?
To that end, a 2018 study administered by the National Institutes of Health showed that Floatation-REST (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy) has significant potential when it comes to offering relief to those who experience quality-of-life affecting mental health issues.
The study’s findings were considerable, and persuasive. Participants reported a pleasant, side-effect free experience, with the abstract saying, “Overall, the procedure was well-tolerated, with no major safety concerns stemming from this single session.” The conclusion? “Floatation-REST may be a promising technique for transiently reducing the suffering in those with anxiety and depression.”
A previous study conducted in 2016 (which sought to look at the effects of floating on Generalized Anxiety Disorder) seems to corroborate these findings, indicating: “GAD symptomatology was significantly reduced for the treatment group…when comparing baseline to post-treatment scoring. Regarding clinical significant change, 37% in the treatment group reached full remission at post-treatment. Significant beneficial effects were also found for sleep difficulties, difficulties in emotional regulation, and depression…All improved outcome variables at post-treatment, except for depression, were maintained at 6-months follow. No negative effects were found.”
So, the argument can be made that the science is in. Of course, there will always be skepticism. But as always, jumping in with both feet (so to speak…please step carefully into the tanks), is typically the best way to dispel doubt.
In a recent Washington Post article, Stanford University Psychiatrist Nathaniel Morris wrote about his floating experience. He had heard from so many of his patients that floating had helped them, so he decided to experience it for himself…even though he had some reservations about the purported benefits.
Skeptic or not, Dr. Morris emerged from his session with an improved insight on the benefits of a good float.
“…[W]hat struck me most were the moments when I was lying completely still, floating without sound or sight, the feeling in my arms and legs disappearing into nothingness. My sense of time fell away and I felt at peace, as if I were lying in bed and about to fall asleep. It was a sense of tranquility that grew more profound as time passed. And then before I expected it, there were two taps on the tank, and my one hour was over.
I opened my eyes, and slowly, I sat up, my body feeling warm and heavy. It was like I had slept for days. When I think back on the experience it is a sense of deep ‘calm’ that I most recall…I spent an hour inside a dark metal box but somehow came out feeling completely at ease, not just during the moment but also for a few hours after. I think many of us — and especially some patients who have mental health issues — seek out that kind of calm in our daily lives.”
Mental health advocate and blogger Ashley Laderer experienced a similar phenomenon during her research for a piece she wrote for therapy outlet TalkSpace.
“When I finally plopped myself into the tank, I immediately floated — no effort necessary. I couldn’t help but smile. It was a phenomenon I’d never experienced before, as I can’t float in pool or salty ocean water for the life of me. I thanked the 1000 pounds of epsom salt in the tank for keeping me up. The water felt perfect — because it’s kept right around human body temperature. They say for this reason, it becomes easy to lose track of where the body ends and the water begins, adding to the sense-free experience. Tiny lights resembling colorful stars lit up the ceiling of the tank, and zen music played at the perfect volume.
With my ears submerged and earplugs in, my breath began to sound like gentle ocean waves, coming in and out of shore….”I am a mermaid,” I thought. “This is what it feels like to be a mermaid”…I felt as though I was going in and out of some sort of consciousness, like how I feel when I’m just drifting off to sleep. I even felt like I was having little snippets of dreams! No longer was I making a super-conscious effort to be relaxed — I just was.”
Psychology Today agrees with both the findings of these studies, and the experiences of floating converts.
“The characteristics of floatation therapy make it a strong fit for treating physical pain, helping the body recover from injury and pain-related illnesses, and rebound from vigorous physical exertion. Removing external stimuli from the float environment has the effect of all but eliminating the body’s internal stress response. Floating appears to take us out of ‘flight or fight’ (a chronic state of physiological being for many of us) and moves us into ‘rest and recover.’ That fight or flight stress response — with the excitatory hormones and inflammation surges that are a part of it — is a primary trigger for pain.”
Ultimately, all the studies and personal accounts in existence won’t be able to tell you if floating can help with your mental or emotional unrest; you’ll need to experience it for yourself in order to determine its efficacy.