Last year I heard a story on the radio of a young man named John who recently came back from the war in Iraq. When he left for the war he was a cheerful, outgoing guy. When he came back something was different. He was withdrawn and depressed. His family did not know what to do about it. They were confused. Where had their son and brother gone? He was a different person. When the story aired, the young man was in counseling. John is a classic case of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from military service.
PTSD occurs when someone experiences the trauma and they continue to react to the trauma months and years later as though it is still taking place. What happens is people unconsciously decide things during the trauma. Whatever they instruct their mind to do (“The world is scary,” “I am helpless,” or “I am a bad person”) gets lodged in the unconscious part like a looping tape that plays over and over without them realizing it.
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, have been found to improve PTSD. We have observed clients reduce their PTSD through floating. The reason is because floating frees up a lot of brain circuitry and it helps people amplify deep meditative brainwave states. It takes them out of the “flight or fight” response pattern and to a non-emotional state. In this state they are training their mind to calm down. They are also freeing up circuitry to eventually identify what they put in their mind.
We asked two U.S. military veterans, and iFloaters, to write about their thoughts on floating, being a military veteran, and PTSD. You can read them below.
Megan Henry, a Veteran and an athlete training for the Olympics, wrote the following about PTSD and floating:
Being in the military and reflecting after Independence Day, I recommend floating to fellow Soldiers who are suffering from PTSD, anxiety, or depression resulting from multiple combat tours. Imagine spending multiple years constantly in fight-or-flight mode, but having no choice but to use fight? This very unique opportunity to help turn your brain off simply cannot be replicated elsewhere. For those who feel they do not want to turn and ask for help, I urge them to just try this. Floating allows those who may feel ashamed or hesitant to ask for help to feel empowered because they will ultimately be contributing to their own relief and journey of overcoming these mental battles. In addition, the environment at iFloat cannot be beat. Sharing your experience and epiphanies is easy and in a very safe, welcoming environment. I have to applaud the iFloat staff for giving me an environment that has allowed me to grow on so many levels, and have it “float” over to other areas of my life. I will continue to use floating throughout the remainder of my athletic career and whatever lies after. I encourage others to float and find their own relaxed chaos.
Brody Hawatt, a Veteran and finance expert, wrote the following about PTSD and floating:
I have been dealing with PTSD since coming back from Iraq in 2004. I have found that floating has not only enabled me to deal and confront what caused the PTSD, but it has also helped me with other areas of my life. I have four young children, two of which are 7 month old twins, so along with having PTSD go od sleep is a rarity for me. One hour of floating gives me that time to rest and hit a level of peace that is hard to find in my hectic schedule. Floating also helps slow down everything in my life and put things in perspective. I work in a job where I stare at 10 screens all day long in a fairly fast paced job, and I have found that floating has enabled me to slow everything down and have a sense of clarity I did not have before. My experiences with floating only improves with each session.
Multiple float sessions are helpful for reducing anxiety. Military veterans receive 20% off all float sessions (discount includes all packages and membership). iFloat also offers a 12 week research program where participants fill out surveys before and after they float. For participating in the research the participants receive 50% off all float sessions during the twelve week program.