I am a 52 year old women who lives with fibromyalgia. I probably don’t have to explain what fibromyalgia is because you wouldn’t be reading this unless you have it, know someone who does, or have read about other cases where floating has helped with fibromyalgia but in case you are still pondering over there in the dark, fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that affects the muscles, joints, and soft tissue. Simply said, it's very painful and not a lot of fun.
By the time I had a name for my physical condition I was put on a medication, which was basically a strong NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and it worked immediately. I couldn’t help thinking happily, “so this is what normal people feel like.” Fibromyalgia sneaks up on you slowly, so it’s not as if you wake up one morning and you are in pain. Once you find pain relief you are often ready to ignore the side effects that can do damage to you later, all you care about is that you have relief now. That medication only worked for about 6 months and I was onto another prescription with even more dire and scary side effects. My first dose gave me a horrible reaction so I decided it was time to start looking for a more natural and less potentially harmful alternative. That’s when I came across FLOATING!
In clicking on an old high school classmate’s Facebook page I saw that he had opened a Float Center. I had no idea what that was at the time so I went to his website and I was instantly intrigued. After browsing I saw a tab marked “Fibromyalgia.” When I read about how much floating could help with my fibromyalgia, my eyes literally filled with tears. Sometimes you just have a moment in time when you intuitively know that you have found the key to change your life.
I got in touch with my childhood friend with many questions, did lots of online research, and saw that the Fibromyalgia Floatation Project was doing a study on floating as therapy. My closest commercial float center was almost 2 hours away and I quickly realized it was not feasible for me to join that study or float very often. During my internet forays into floating I came upon the Kickstarter campaign for the Zen Float Tent and read everything I could find on their product. Upon talking to the folks at the company it was suggested I go try a commercial float and see how much it helped. I had TWO whole completely pain free days after my first 90 minute float at a float center. It was then I knew I needed an at home tank and the Zen Float Tent was a huge help to me in my learning curve as to how I was going to make this work for me.
The tent itself took a bit of time to put up but was easy to put together for two people. I won’t lie and say it doesn’t take some time to learn about and also maintain the water but it is more than worth it to float and get pain relief at home with no dangerous drugs involved. I have found it to be a well designed product and I am so grateful to Zen for putting it out there.
In floating regularly I discovered that I am a night floater and it takes me about 2 hours, start to finish, as you need to shower before and after your float. I have had considerable trouble in the past few years falling asleep because it is just so hard to get my muscles to relax. I go straight to bed after my float and fall asleep within 5-10 minutes. It's really nice for my husband as well, no more keeping him awake as he has to be an early riser for work. The sleep I have after a float is deep and comfortable. My husband says I used to roll over and moan in pain in my sleep. No more of that, either.
Previously I was going to a stretching class for dancers or gentle yoga weekly. I now find that if I rest in my tank for 15 minutes or so to let my muscles loosen up and then I do about 15 more minutes of stretches in the tank I get much more flexibility in the water than in classes and I don’t have exercise type aches afterwards. Not only do I save money, transportation costs, and time, on classes I am saving on chiropractic visits as well. I used to have to go every three weeks for an adjustment and I have stretched it out to four weeks and am hoping to be able to get to five weeks at some point. To be able to float at home frees up my schedule incredibly because it is hard to find classes and office visits that fit into my work schedule.
It is nothing new that warm water and Epsom salts are going to ease aches and pains, but floating really goes so much further than that. Having 800 pounds of Epsom salts in 200 gallons of water is so much more than you could ever do by soaking in a regular tub. Adding the other components of complete quiet and darkness, along with the feeling of total weightlessness allows both your body and your mind to fully relax. I will admit that, for a new floater like me, shutting off my mind is still a work in progress. I am happy to report it improves with every float.
So, that’s my story and I am so pleased to say that I float every other evening and no longer have to take anymore pain medication, not even over the counter stuff. I have had a few brushes with thinking I could do anything I want again and found that my fibromyalgia does still limit me in how far I can push my muscles without pain, but if I stick to a reasonable lifestyle I can live in comfort once again.
If you live with fibromyalgia and reading this story doesn’t have you feeling an incredible amount of hope, or have you in complete tears…then you don’t have fibromyalgia. If you know the feeling i'm talking about, go straight out and try a commercial float as soon as possible. Take a look at Floatationlocations.com or Zen Float Co's Float Center Map and find one near you. I was not paid in any way for this testimonial; I just want other people like me to be able to feel human again. I obviously can’t say that everyone will have the same experience I had but if your first float is even half as good as mine was, you are going to feel the first breakthrough of relief you have had in a long time. In my new life my favorite saying is actually an old adage with a new twist…hope Floats! And, gratefully, so do I.
This story was shared with us personally from Lynn Taylor, a Zen Float Tent user since November 2014. Lynn would like to be a personal resource in the community for anyone with fibromyalgia interested in trying out floating or getting more information. If you would like to speak with Lynn personally about how floating might be able to help you with your fibromyalgia, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.