25 Apr Float tank tips for fibromyalgia and persistent pain
An hour alone in a capsule partially filled with water may not seem like your idea of relaxation, especially if you experience chronic pain.
But learning to relax is an important part of pain management and a float tank session with Perth-based Beyond Rest can be the perfect opportunity.
Here are five tips inspired by Yoga for Pain to help those with persistent pain get the most out of their salt-water solo time:
- Give yourself time to settle in
You may initially find that you notice your discomfort even more in the float tank. This is completely normal.
Relaxation is a skill to cultivate. Give it time.
Be gentle with yourself and treat the hour as an opportunity to learn more about your body and yourself.
- Give your mind something simple to do
An easy point of focus is the breath. While you float, tune into the movement of your belly and your chest as you breathe in and out. You can even put your hands on your stomach to help you.
Whenever you catch your mind worrying about your pain gently bring your attention back to the breath.
- Move gently and slowly to help the body relax and the mind find focus
The gravity-free environment of the float tank is a perfect opportunity to move gently, without putting weight into joints or over-stressing the body. It also gives your mind something to do.
Start by wriggling fingers and toes, then stretch your arms and legs. Pay attention to every movement.
When you get the hang of it, try being creative and playful, knowing that no one can see you.
I found that wearing the ear-plugs provided was helpful as splashing about left my ears a little water-logged!
- Notice that you can still relax, even if your body is tight
During my first few floats, my tight neck muscles became very obvious to me. In spite of my best efforts, those muscles refused to relax and I became frustrated.
Then I realised that the rest of me was actually more relaxed, even if the muscles in my neck were as tight as ever. My mind was much more still and other parts of my body felt softer.
Give yourself permission to enjoy the float and experience the relaxation that is available to you, rather than waiting for your body to feel completely pain-free.
- Advanced practice: talk yourself through a guided relaxation or Yoga Nidra
I always include guided relaxations in the Yoga for Pain classes because having someone take you through the process makes it easier to stay focussed.
You can also learn to talk yourself through your own meditation. Try out recordings at home and then repeat them back to yourself during your float.
- Bonus tip no 6: Enjoy your float
We can be very busy trying to fix all the things that are wrong with us, thinking that only once it is all taken care of will we be able to relax and get on with life.
But why not give yourself permission to focus on what is right and wonderful with your body and your float. You may be surprised by the result! Follow a float with a yoga practice and your body will be in heaven!
My floats were courtesy of the passionate people at Perth-based Beyond Rest. Would love to hear how you go with your floats and the tips.