National Media on PTSD Treatments
Air Force veteran Trey Hearn believes in the power of float therapy.
More commonly known as sensory deprivation, float therapy consists of clients entering a pod filled with 150 gallons of water, and 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt, allowing the body to float on top of the water without any effort. Floaters then have the ability to turn off lights, and sounds, providing them a nearly 100 percent stimuli-free environment.
After experiencing his first float, Hearn knew he wanted to bring the experience to others. He and his brother, Chris, opened up Float Brothers Float Spa in Destin, Fla. in January, and began touting the benefits of the technique.
“It’s like a reset button for your brain,” Hearn said. “It really is. If you think of your brain as a computer, you have all these apps that are going to the hard drive, and you’re letting it all reboot.”
In addition to the mental break the technique gives floaters, the ability to feel weightless and relieve the stress from pressure points and joints is a huge benefit, he said.
The biggest draw of floating for Hearn, though, other than his own positive experience, are the benefits to military veterans and sufferers of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The lack of stimuli allows the brain to confront images or memories they have previously suppressed, he said.
They started late one night, the tremors that shook Michael Harding’s whole body when he lay down to sleep. “A bit weird,” thought Harding, then a 23-year-old Australian soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Just days before, he’d been in an hours-long siege in which his second-in-command was shot and killed.
Harding soon started shaking so much that he had to ask a friend to light his cigarettes. He couldn’t drink water from a bottle without pouring it down his shirt, and in the mess hall, his twitches got so spastic that he’d sometimes flip his tray.
He was medically discharged from the army in 2012 with severe PTSD and left with a new personality: withdrawn and unemotional. His sleep suffered, too. He had nightmares and night sweats.
To handle his worsening symptoms, Harding tried two kinds of talk therapy, four kinds of medication, and large nightly doses of scotch and Coke. When each of those failed, he turned to yoga, juicing, meditation and medicinal pot. That helped a little, but Harding’s anxiety and muscle spasms still hadn’t abated.
Around that time, his wife did what any desperate person would: she started poking around in online forums for something else that may help with his PTSD. She found glowing testimonials for floating, the practice of lying belly-up in a tank filled with warm water so salty you float.
At Float Brothers we are honored to support our military veterans and active duty personnel. In addition to offering 10% off all services, we have free floats available to any veteran or active duty personnel diagnosed with PTSD.
Read below for requirements and limitations:
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PTSD Float Therapy Program