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Veterans Are Finding Comfort And Peace From PTSD Through 'Float Thearpy'

Veterans Are Finding Comfort And Peace From PTSD Through 'Float Thearpy'

The pool of water is placed in a dark sound-free environment, known as the “sensory deprivation chamber” so that it creates an atmosphere for meditation and deep contemplation.

Image Source: Getty Images/kali9

Veterans across the country are finding relief from PTSD without pills or prescriptions through a concept called floatation therapy. According to the Good News Network, it is an alternative treatment for physical and emotional illnesses. Basically, in this therapy, a veteran suffering from PTSD will lay in a small pool filled with 10 inches of salt water containing roughly 1,000 pounds of magnesium sulfate, which is commonly known as Epsom Salt. The high quantity of salt in the water helps the patient float on top of the bed of water (now you know why people float on the dead sea.) The temperature of the water is crucial, too.

 



 

 

It's kept at a constant 94.2 degrees Fahrenheit, around the same temperature as a human body, which helps create the sensation of being suspended in the air. The pool of water is placed in a dark sound-free environment, known as the “sensory deprivation chamber” so that it creates an atmosphere for meditation and deep contemplation. This helps the mind enter the "theta" state, which is reportedly the frequency at which our minds work right before we fall into a deep slumber. When veterans are deprived of sensory information, it gives them an opportunity to process their trauma, thanks to a safe and therapeutic environment. 

 



 

 

According to Fox 29, Robert Torres, 35, a father of three, and combat veteran, served his country for 13 years. Even though he made it out safely, his mind was still on the battlefield. "I missed the camaraderie, the marines," Torres said. "I missed the brotherhood that was there and I really struggled." Torres survived three deployments with the marine corp in Iraq, Fallujah, and Afghanistan. "You feel like you're being watched or you feel like you're being followed or you're constantly looking for exit routes so you're really not able to be in that moment," Torres said. "You're lonely, you're feeling like you lost your sense of purpose."



 

Torres has been fighting PTSD for a while, and as soon as he came back from his deployment, he started seeing a psychiatrist. As expected they prescribed him pain pills, but that did nothing for him, except numb his pain and isolated him from the present. "Not only were those things personally affecting me, but it was also affecting people around me," Torres said. "Pharmaceutical therapy only puts a band-aid over what you're dealing with." This is because he did not know there were other options, such as float therapy. "I didn't know how to deal with it, didn't know how to handle it," Torres said. "I didn't know how to take care of it so I was in a denial stage for quite a long time."

 



 

 

This caused him to think about suicide in 2014. "When I attempted suicide, I had driven myself to the hospital but sat in the parking lot because I couldn't get myself to go in because I couldn't accept the fact that I was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder," Torres said. But, that's when things got better for Torres. "There was a gift certificate given to me around that time that brought me to Float SA," Torres said. "It was amazing. It almost feels like you become a new person - from the aches and pains that your body normally has to you're more mindful, you're more aware of your feelings, your emotions."

 



 

 

The experience was surreal for Torres, says Float owner Jeremy Jacob.  "When you remove all sensory input that's coming into the mind and especially the nervous system because we're constantly taking in stimulus that allows you to shut down the amygdala, the fight or flight part of your brain," Jacob said. "Lowering the stress hormones, increasing the happy hormones." When Jacob realized the effect it had on people's mental health, he started a PTSD program for veterans. "In the research that's been done on floating, they found that when you float consecutively and constantly, you get a lot more benefits so our program for combat veterans with PTSD is 10 floats, over 10 weeks," Jacob said. 



 

 

Jacob has seen how much relief this therapy brings to veterans like Torres, and now, he's trying to work with Veteran Affairs so that this becomes a standard treatment method for other vets suffering from PTSD. "It's not something they're able to prescribe," Jacob said. "So there's no payment options to support them so that kind of falls on float centers." Torres says this natural remedy to heal from PTSD, along with fitness and exercise gave him hope to keep going. "I would encourage veterans to give alternative treatments because something like float therapy can be life-changing," Torres said.



 

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