Today I was very fortunate to sample on behalf of the Andover Fibro & M.E group (AFMCG) members an hour session in a floatation tank, here's my post explaining today's events!
I woke this morning after a poor nights sleep after all I was here in the FibroAction community until 2.30am but eventually I fell asleep at 4am, needless to say I was stiff, painful and not very awake as I got to the appointment. The lady fully explained about the session and I was offered silicone ear plugs which mould into your ear (no water into your ears then) and barrier cream (Vaseline) for any open wounds to protect the chemicals in the tank from skin irritation.
The floatation tank was contained within a private room with WC facilities, a shower with shampoo & shower gel supplied. The self contained annex offers complete privacy so you can float in your birthday suit if you like ! I wore bikini bottoms, thought I better mention this in case I scare any gentlemen reading !!
Once completely showered before the therapy too remove any perfumes, deodorant and in my case makeup you can then you can enter the Floatation tank. The room itself is much bigger than I expected. I am not by any means really claustrophobic and I can manage an MRI but any thoughts of pot hole adventures makes me a little uneasy. So my expectations of a small space were totally wrong! It was spacious with a swallow body of water heated to body temperature (37 degrees) with 350kg of epsom salts giving a buoyancy like a dead sea effect.
After entering the lovely warm water which in itself made my pain feel a bit better I let my body float and then shut my eyes whilst breathing deeply and properly. I did some stretching and PMR in there to help me to fully relax too. Music plays for the first 10 mins or so then you are silent and can even sleep if you want to, however I chose not to as I was thinking about feedback for after the session. Music plays again when the session is drawing to a close and then you can slowly sit up and move to standing before showering once again using the towel supplied. It also has a hairdryer attached to the wall like at swimming baths with a full size mirror.
Whilst floating you are without pressure which is obviously good and I couldn't help but move around as I experienced the strange feeling of what can only be described in my mind as 'dense' water. It was a lovely experience and to date in my own personal opinion the best Hydrotherapy I've ever had !
Personally my stiffness was relieved, pain in most of my body is less (apart from my knees which have been playing up lately) my skin is soft, my clothes seemed to fit better (as if I'd lost weight maybe I thought water loss possibly!) and I feel more alert. So all in all a positive experience and a great new service to our local area as we have no other possibilities for NHS Hydrotherapy.
I would like to read further research on Floatation tanks in relation to Fibro but my initial findings that I have read (possibly from only one study which cannot be reliable without other studies to back it up) said 30 % reduction in stress and 2.5 days a week less pain. This excerpt I read didn't say how many sessions would be needed or at what cost !
For the Andover group which has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund for a years Hydrotherapy using local Spa facilities, it's a welcome addition to the area as we had no Hydrotherapy facilities here before either NHS or Private. If we can get further funding this may be an avenue to explore as the benefits just from one session seem to be very beneficial as part of a combined approach to learn to live with Fibro.
Of course, I understand cost is an issue as most of us possibly have financial worries as we need to live on benefits due to being unable to work. If only we could get the GP's and the NHS to realise the benefits of this therapy and maybe they would consider referring Fibro patients to this Hydrotherapy if the costings and benefits were measurable of course !!
To read more about research about Hydrotherapy in general check out the FibroAction Complementary Therapies Factsheet based on up to date research;
To conclude, I would like to say if you can (taking into account all the financial issues, mobility issues etc) get to use these facilities it may be something that may help !
For information only: Session costs £30 for 1 hour session with 30 mins changing etc - I expect it will vary between facilities situated all around the country.
For further information about other possible Health Benefits please Private message me.
Please Note:This is a blog about my personal experiences only and I am not professional recommending it in relation to any of my voluntary roles nor am I promoting the facilities here in Andover. I am merely sharing my experiences with you in the hope it may help others.