Joe Rogan and Pat Healy. Both 2015 Super Bowl teams and Olympians. Wayne Rooney, Carl Lewis, Tom Brady, Elle Macpherson, Peter Gabriel, Michael Crichton, Susan Sarandon. What do they all have in common? Floating. Either in their own tanks or at float centers throughout the world, these athletes and artists have found pain relief, relaxation, creativity and clarity in a float tank.
Joe Rogan, comedian and UFC commentator, is probably the most well-known and vocal proponent of float therapy. He floats regularly, and he shares his passion for floating openly and often. Rogan’s podcast is where many people, including my husband and I, heard about floating for the first time. He pretty regularly says stuff like, “I think it’s one of the most incredible pieces of equipment for self-help and introspective thought that you could ever find.”
This list also highlights the unique benefits float tanks offer to athletes. Physically, floating reduces muscle tension, pain, inflammation and blood pressure. But it has a host of psychological benefits as well that help athletes perform at their best. “The AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) psychologists use float tanks for three main purposes: recuperation and rejuvenation, injury rehabilitation and neuro-muscular programming. The floatation tank represents a new dimension in sports training for the elite athlete.”
Jade Johnson is a British long jumper. Her comments truly capture the multifaceted benefits of floating. “When I first got into floatation therapy, I tried it three times in a week, and it was so beneficial that I had another two sessions leading into the 2008 European Cup at Annecy, France. It was there I jumped a personal best of 6.81m and qualified for the Beijing Olympics. I have always used Physiotherapy and massage to help injury recovery, but floatation is different. When I float, I can really feel a lot of pressure being taken off my back, and when I compete, I feel calm, and my mind and body feel in balance. I think everyone should at least have one float in their lives, or they just don’t know what they are missing!”
Sports psychologist for the Seattle Seahawks, Mike Gervais, regularly uses meditation and mindfulness to help players maximize their performance. “Gervais is about to lead a meditation session and, as he always does, instructs the players to hit record on their phone voice-recorder apps and to close their eyes. Then he starts guiding them: ‘Quiet your minds,’ ‘Focus your attention inwardly’ and ‘Visualize success’.” As the players began to feel the benefits of this practice, they reached out to their local float center. Floating became a regular training tool for both Super Bowl 2015 teams and is being implemented into professional training regimens all over the world because of its ability to improve both physical and mental performance.
Floating isn’t amazing because athletes and celebrities do it; athletes and celebrities float because it’s amazing. Simple, inexpensive, natural and effective: Floating is a performance-enhancing experience for everyone.