Floating and pro athletes:

A synergy that wins championships
There is nothing like watching live and in person your sports team or athlete win a championship. This was the case for many in the Richmond, Virginia, who watched the Richmond Rough Riders claim the Arena Pro Football League Championship trophy on June 10, 2017. The game was decided on the last play. And a perfect season was had by the players and fans.
At the start of the season, the Rough Rider’s ownership encouraged by the benefits of floating for professional athletes, worked out sponsorship agreements with The Float Zone, a floatation center in Richmond. The owner and coaches encouraged their players to use floatation therapy as a way to enhance their performance physically and psychologically.
Athletes often talk about time slowing down when they are in the groove. They “flow” when relaxed and focused. So when one of the Rough Rider star defensive backs said to the staff, “floating is the ultimate calm and focus for me”, he captures the key features of why floating wins championships. Any sports psychologist will assure you that the mental side of the game is where its at for consistency and peak performance. Any sleep specialist will tell you that a lack of it, will wreak havoc with everything – from stress to healing. Any athletic trainer will agree that anything that helps the brain and the body, improves the athlete.

Floating, through the act of removing gravity and other sensory stimuli like light and sound, quickly shifts the brain into states that mimic our sleep cycles. This effortlessly encourages the brain to rest and repair. And what happens in the brain, affects the whole body. This is magnified by the skin’s absorption of magnesium through the half ton of epsom salts that are dissolved in each float tank. This combination produces far reaching positive effects in many of the major systems of the body including the cardiovascular, lymphatic, and endocrine, in addition to the musculoskeletal and neurological.
Engaging with the players at the float center, some observations emerged about working with professional football players who used floatation during their season. Post-practice and game soreness or injury healed faster. Return to play after injury was reduced. Sleep improved. Stress and anxiety was diminished. The most frequent use of floating for the players was the day after practice and the day before a game.
So like all the other professional teams like the Golden State Warriors, New England Patriots and Chicago Cubs that all won championships this year, it’s both interesting and encouraging that all of them embrace floatation therapy for athletic performance on and off the field. Congratulations to the Richmond Rough Riders, the latest example of professional athletes who use floating to leverage their game.
By Dr. David A. Berv, CCSP

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