Relief from gravitational pressure gives our body a break, and boosts blood flow to parts of our body that may be injured, painful, or need to recover from intense exercise.
High concentrations of Epsom salts in the water allow us to float weightlessly, taking pressure off of our joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons, which can’t even be replicated lying down in bed.
This is why floating has been reported to have significant beneficial impacts on conditions including hypertension, chronic tension headaches, and chronic pain in the back and neck.
Increased blood flow also allows our body to eliminate waste, toxins, and biochemicals such as lactic acid, which causes pain, tightness, and cramping when left to build up. Coupled with the ability to become extremely aware of knots, tensions, and painful spots, floating allows athletes and gym-goers to heal faster and overcome fatigue. Floating can also provide pain relief for people with many conditions from fibromyalgia to arthritis. It is reported as being particularly effective in relieving back pain, with a 2017 study conducted over 4 weeks concluding:
‘Floating has a direct and positive effect on reducing the intensity and frequency of chronic back pain, as well as improving associated sleep quality, anxiety and depression […] Floating twice weekly has a more pronounced effect than one float per week.’
In Fine and Borrie’s 1978 study, participants who had experienced chronic pain for over 6 months reported a reduction in pain that averaged 31.3%, with the highest level of relief in the upper back at 63.6%, and the lowest in the legs at 15.3%.