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Military Vets with PTSD: Floating Can Help You

ifloat vets ptsd

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 He was withdrawn and depressed.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.

Megan sproats

Why I gave up the boozin’ and got into floatin’!

r2rThis warehouse party was one of the greatest parties Sydney had ever seen! Stopping traffic on Parramatta road even.

It was a special time in Sydney for this alternative music scene and it felt so soulfully freeing. It was hardly a rave or a riot but you know, it was The Telegraph!

Around the time of this party, I was living a fairly beige existence. My Friday/Saturday nights were about what I thought to be the best way to release the frustrations of the working week, drinking to get out of it. On this particular Saturday night, pictured and circled, I found myself in fairly bad shape and had to take a ‘sickie’ the following Monday. I came to work on the Tuesday and found the paper open to this page in the tea room. I quickly tore it out hoping no managers had seen me. A few of the ‘offices anarchists’ had seen it and were high fiving me as I walked back to my desk…

I decided that was it. It was time to get smart about how I would transform my boredom with life and the need to numb myself because it wasn’t healthy for me anymore. I had been floating for a year on and off and so I started floating every Friday night instead of going out and drinking.

That is when my life REALLY took a turn around for the better. Maybe even think Pre-LSD beatles to Post-LSD beatles but with solid ground and no LSD required! I discovered that while I was numbing myself from feeling the negative things in life, I was also numbing myself from feeling the smack bang heart opening beauty in life.

I’m all for everything in moderation and for me, everything about replacing boozin’ with floatin’, as a means of release, was so much better. I could write endless amounts on this.

Northwest Floatation Center

Why You Should Seek Solitude


In today’s world full of people, noise, and technology, most people consider isolation a negative thing. Doctors warn that isolation causes depression and health problems. Teachers and parents worry about kids who seem to spend too much time by themselves. The truth is, solitude is necessary to help us live in such a fast-paced world without constant sensory overload. Periods of solitude carry a myriad of benefits, which we will explore today.

Isolation Increases Inspiration

In our culture of unemployment, underemployment, and working two to three jobs for a decent paycheck, many of us are frustrated with work. Often this isn’t because of the jobs themselves; rather, it’s because work is so demanding and fast-paced. Even those of us who work at home, writers or artists, can feel the pressure to produce great work while simultaneously meeting deadlines. Isolating yourself – going for a quick walk at lunch, taking a breather in the break room, or taking a book to the park instead of joining coworkers for lunch – can clear your head. Refocusing your mind will increase inspiration and the desire to produce quality work.

Northwest Floatation Center

The Effects of Zero Gravity on the Body

Before floatation tanks became more popular in spas, they were primarily used by astronauts in training. NASA still trains astronauts with floatation chambers. This is because floatation chambers simulate a zero-gravity environment. The water in a floatation chamber contains about 1,200 pounds of magnesium sulfate, causing the body to easily float on top of the water. Especially combined with the darkness and lack of sound integral to the floatation experience, it’s no wonder astronauts train in a chamber.

The effects of weightlessness are very different between a floatation chamber and long term space travel, however. Floating in space long-term can have some serious negative effects on the body. In a zero gravity environment, muscles shrink. This can lead to deteriorating joint function, and can also lead to pain felt throughout the body. Bones suffer as well, significantly decreasing in mass in proportion to the time spent in space. The body’s most important muscle, the heart, is not exempt from this shrinking effect.

The heart is designed to work with the gravity of Earth. The heart pumps blood strongly upward to combat the force of gravity so we can have adequate blood flow to the head. With no gravity, the heart’s upward force would be too strong. This can create swelling in the eyes and face.

The immune system also suffers. Astronauts can experience recurrence of childhood illnesses, such as chicken pox. Diseases that occur in zero gravity are also difficult to treat, as medicines don’t necessarily work the way they do on earth.