Well, it’s about time for the Super Bowl! All year these professional athletes have been training for this game.
One of the most important parts of being an athlete, is being able to efficiently recover from workouts to ensure you are 100% ready to go for every drill, practice and game.
Even if you’re not a professional athlete, there is a lot we can learn from these players in terms of physical fitness + recovery.
So, how do these players avoid injury and recovery from constant physical work?
For years there have been athletic trainers, physical therapists, coaches and doctors to help keep these athletes in tip-top shape, prevent injury and ensure they are recovering from workouts.
But over the past few years, players have gotten more interested in alternative forms of recovery. This includes things like saunas, NormaTec, red light therapy, and even float tanks.
Float tanks, or sensory deprivation therapy, is basically when you lie in a giant tub of skin-temperature, over-saturated epsom salt water. These tanks use Epsom Salt which also helps with muscle recovery and body relaxation.
The reason so many athletes are turning to floating is because it not only has physical benefits, but also helps with mental clarity, focus and emotional balance, creating a solid player both physically and mentally.
Why should athletes float?
Improves Athletic Performance Through Visualization
A study by Wagaman, et al. found that amongst college basketball players, athletes that floated performed better than those who didn’t, based off judges opinions. This is because sensory deprivation therapy (or float tank therapy) enhances mental imagery. So combining visualization tactics outside of the tank, then allowing players to float, improves their visualization practices and shows on the court.
Mental Clarity + Composure
“The amygdala is very reactive to things coming in from the outside—somebody looks at you funny, or you hear a sound that’s scary,” says psychiatrist Martin Paulus, president and scientific director also at the Laureate Institute. “That kind of stress is good when the guy looking at you is about to steal your wallet, but elsewhere it’s counterproductive” (Vigneron).
Paulus theorizes this reactivity of the amygdala is a cause of stress and can be reduced through floating. To learn more about how floating can ipmact stress + anxiety, click here.
Looking further into it, Dr. Paulus believes that athletes who float have a less reactive amygdala allowing them to think clearer and stay more composed during high-intensity activity (Vigneron).
Reduces Muscle Soreness
According to the Epsom Salt Council, there are numerous studies showing epsom salt as an effective method for treating muscle soreness. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate — a mineral found in abundance in our body. Magnesium sulfate flushes lactic acid out of the muscles that build up during vigorous exercise. This helps relax skeletal muscles and improve muscle recovery.
Athletes That Float
Johnson Bademosi - NFL Player for Houston Texans
Tom Brady - NFL Quarterback for New England Patriots
Stephen Curry - NBA player for Golden State Warriors
AJ DeLaGarza - MLS Player for Houston Dynamo
Pat Healy - MMA Fighter
Steven Hauschka - NFL Super Bowl-Winning Kicker for Seattle Seahawks
Jade Johnson - Competitive Track & Field Athlete
Marvin Jones - NFL Player for Detroit Lions
Carl Lawson - NFL Player for Cincinnati Bengals
Carl Lewis - Olympic Gold Medalist in Track & Field
Aly Raisman - U.S.A. Olympic Gymnast
Peter Reid - 1998 Ironman Champion
Wayne Rooney - Star Soccer Player for Manchester United
Brennan Scarlett - NFL Player for Houston Texans
JJ Watt - NFL Player for Houston Texans
NFL Teams That Float (or have had float tanks in their facilities)
New England Patriots
Whether you are an avid-athlete or just like to hit the gym, floating could provide your body with some much needed relaxation + recovery.
To learn more about the benefits of floating, click here and speak with a float specialist.
Vigneron, Peter. “Steph Curry's Secret to Mental Strength.” Outside Online, 14 Nov. 2016
Wagaman, Jeffrey D., et al. “Flotation Rest and Imagery in the Improvement of Collegiate Basketball Performance.” Research Gate, Feb. 1991