How Floating Helps Veterans with PTSD

By Camille Pierson

Service men and women often come back from combat zones suffering some form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Traditional treatments for this condition include medication and therapy but some veterans find these unhelpful as the side effects from the medication are troublesome and the therapy involves them discussing their experiences repeatedly which can make them feel uncomfortable. Recently, particularly in the US, veterans have been trying floatation therapy as a way of alleviating their symptoms and have been very pleased with the results.

How PTSD Can Affect People

Like many mental illnesses, PTSD affects different people differently but many sufferers experience flashbacks and nightmares about their traumatic experiences, physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling, emotional numbing, hyper-vigilance where they feel constantly on edge, depression, anxiety, substance or alcohol misuse and other physical symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and stomach pains. All of these incredibly unpleasant and debilitating symptoms can be experienced by all sorts of people suffering from PTSD not just armed forces veterans but the service men and women often have physical ailments as well as being very physically worn out to deal with as well.

How Floating Helps with PTSD

Being able to float free from gravity with no strain on muscles, joints or connective tissue gives military veterans an escape from their aches and pains and a chance to rest their worn bodies. The complete break from external stimuli also allows their minds to relax and some feel like this is an opportunity to face their suppressed memories in a safe space. Floating has been proven to reduce the effects of the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for relaxation and healing. It also lowers stress hormones in the body and encourages the production of endorphins. Over time, floating regularly can help people build up more resilience to stress so it can help PTSD sufferers in the long term as well as giving them a break from their symptoms in the short term.

What Veterans have Said about Floating

One US Airforce veteran described floating as “like a reset button for your brain” because it afforded him such a successful break from his symptoms. A retired Chief Master Sargent described having an unhelpful time with various therapists because he found having to repeatedly explain his situation stressful and it made him feel anxious and agitated. He tried floating and said, “My pains and stresses are automatically lifted away without me having to say a word to anyone… or take any new pill”. The Airforce veteran was so impressed by his experiences of floating to relieve his PTSD that he and his brother opened their own floating centre and said they feel very happy when other veterans report that their sleeping has improved after their third float or that their medications have been reduced as a result of floating.

It isn’t only armed forces personnel who suffer with PTSD and floatation has proved to be very helpful in alleviating the suffering of all kinds of people no matter what the traumatic event was that caused the condition. At The Float Spa, using floatation to help with PTSD is very personal to us as our founder, Camille, discovered the benefits of floating in exactly this way. To try it for yourself, click here to book a session or call 01273 933 680 for more information.

About the Author:

Camille Pierson
Camille is the managing director of the Float Spa and a Trustee of the Brighton Yoga Foundation. She’s immensely proud of the community she’s built at the float spa and takes real pleasure from seeing yoga & floating transform people’s lives. She’s also a mother of two.

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