Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, described as a constant dull ache, typically arising from muscles. It effects 2% of general population and women are much more likely to develop it than are men by a ratio of 9:1.
This description was taken from the Fibromyalgia Flotation Project website. If you or someone you know struggles with fibromyalgia please direct them to this site for some more information on how floating may help them with their condition.
Fibromyalgia is a devastating and often unpredictable condition that causes dreadful pain and impacts life by interfering with the ability to do the simplest things. While fibromyalgia is not well understood, current thinking is that it is the result of central augmentation of pain sensitivity, either triggered by a traumatic event or developing gradually.
In addition, it has been suggested that sufferers of fibromyalgia have a magnesium deficiency caused by stress and lack of restful sleep that subsequently triggers nerves to respond to even minor stimuli (London, 2007).
The Fibromyalgia Flotation Project selected Fibromyalgia for study because the characteristics and symptoms of this disorder correspond closely with conditions that were reported to benefit in prior flotation REST studies.
Fibromyalgia treatment with Float therapy
A Testimonial From Float North County Client Cheri
With today being my 20th float, I figured it was time to write down how things have been going and hopefully talk some fellow “Fibro Warriors” into trying something new in their treatment and self help plan.
Before I discovered floating I was having a lot of trouble sleeping and was at the point where pain was ruling my life. Constant nagging aches like I always had the flu. I have only been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about a year now but the back pain has been part of my life for 15 years or more. I was told it was just something to expect with age (this being at age 31). The sleep was so bad that on a “good” night I was getting 5 hours. Normal nights were 2-3 hours here and there and a few nights I never slept at all. I did all the things I was supposed to do. Avoiding naps, cutting out caffeine, I even cut out sugar too. I also tried many different drugs.
You know things are not working when you have taken a muscle relaxer, anti-anxiety meds, a pain pill and you still cant sleep.
This horrible sleep pattern went on for about 9 months. Meanwhile my pain was not getting any better, and as you can imagine, my fatigue was horrid. So in my search for anything else to try I came across an article about floating. I knew that soaking in epsom salts was my in home go to plan to try to get my muscles to relax and I was doing that 2-3 times a week around 2am in desperation to sleep. I figured a tub big enough that I could actually stretch out and relax in sounded fabulous (I am almost 6 ft tall so the average bathtub is a waste of water/time for me).
I started out buying the 3 float package because I am thrifty and I figured there is nothing that could go wrong with this. If anything, I would get 3 hours in a tub that fits me. The first float was a bit awkward as I am claustrophobic and as soon as the lights and sound went out my mind started to come up with weird scenarios. I had control of the light switch though and I could just flip it on for a few seconds, take a deep breath and I was fine. By my second float I was able to fully relax, let my brain take a total vacation, and loosen up physically. I used to go to a chiropractor to align my back on a regular basis. I feel like I get the same effect, without the pain, by floating. I feel somehow taller when I leave the place (I’m sure I am standing straighter). Also at the end of each float I do some deep stretching and things pop that I can’t get to move otherwise.
This past November we decided to do a experiment with me coming to float twice a week. In that month I was able to completely get off of my Fibro medication (Cymbalta). Turns out the side effects of that drug were giving me restless legs which did not exactly help with the sleeping situation. I have gone from 5-6 pain pills a week to 1-2. I also have dropped the med I take for sleep (Trazodone) from 100 mg to 25mg. I am averaging 8-9 hours of sleep now without interruption! If I do wake up, I can go right back to sleep. Some nights I can even get more sleep which has made a huge difference in my daytime pain and fatigue. I attribute a lot of this to my month of floating regularly.
In reality I can’t float twice a week, only because it is a bit of a drive for me and now that I have energy I honestly want to get out and do things with my life that I couldn’t before! I am going to cut back to a couple of times a month and see where this takes me.
If you have Fibromyalgia, I highly recommend trying out a float spa. Yes, getting in and out of the tank takes some work, especially those first few times. If massages cause too much pain, this is a great way to ease into something that should relax you and cause no further pain in the process. Go and then see how you sleep that night. My first float caused me to sleep 12 hours!