This is one of the newest weapons in the battle against back problems. Essentially, as defined by a pre-eminent scientist, floating is ‘a method of attaining the deepest rest that humankind has ever experienced’, and this is accomplished by spending an hour or so lying quietly in the dark, suspended in a warm solution of Epsom salts, about 10″ deep, and so dense that you float without effort.

According to its proponents, floating can bring many benefits:

In the gravity-free environment the body balances and heals internally as all the senses are rested. It is claimed that one hour of floating has the restorative effects of four hours of sleep.

Old injuries and aches – and especially backache – experience relief as floating helps blood circulation.

Additionally, research has shown that floating measurably reduces both blood pressure and the heart rate while at the same time also lowering the levels of stress-related chemicals in the body.

Studies having shown that during a float, people produce slower brain-waves patterns, known as the theta waves and normally experienced only during deep meditation or just before falling asleep. This is usually accompanied by vivid imagery, very clear, creative thoughts, sudden insights and inspirations or feelings of profound peace and joy, induced by the release of endorphins, the body’s natural opiates.

Just how good a treatment for sciatica or other back problems floating is, still remains to be fully proven. As it’s a comparatively new approach, there just aren’t enough documented case histories to provide meaningful statistics. However, as it is a therapy that is unlikely to do harm and may help a lot, it may well be worth a try.

Floating, however, doesn’t suit everybody as it requires a willingness on your part to let go and see what happens, and you may need to float a few times before you are able to relax completely, both physically and mentally. Incidentally, your skin won’t wrinkle like a prune when you float because the water contains high salt levels and therefore doesn’t rob your skin of salt, which is what causes wrinkling. Instead, floating leaves your skin soft and silky.


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