Float Therapy Offering Promising Hope for Veterans with PTSD
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.”