If winter sports cause concussion, floating may help
Winter sports are fun and fast. Skiing down fluffy mountain moguls, or skating on shiny and perfectly flat ice while making sharp turns and stopping on a dime is exciting. Sledding or tubing after a big snowfall is a great way to spend a cold winter day. But all too often, a sudden slip, fall or collision can abruptly end the fun.
January is traumatic brain injury awareness month. And it is for real. Several years ago, before the “discovery” that professional football players were routinely being concussed and not properly evaluated and managed, nobody really gave it a second thought. Strangely enough, as concussion and traumatic brain injury news has been more in the public eye, it seems more people are suffering them. Or maybe it has been there the whole time. It’s amazing how awareness can shape perception.
It happens in an instant. The jello-like brain slams against the skull with such incredible force. Sometimes the skull cracks as the head hits the ice, a tree or the pole sticking up at the bottom of the sledding hill. Sometimes it doesn't fracture, it just internally bleeds or inflames without external signs and symptoms. Often, the effects of a concussion are not apparent for weeks or months, after the broken arm, bruised ribs or headache goes away. This is where winter fun is no laughing matter.
When you endure a head injury, it always affects the brain. Period. Seeking medical counsel immediately upon injury is crucial. However, sometimes there is a delay in signs or symptoms. Concussion and traumatic brain injury is often associated with headaches, vision and hearing changes or sensitivities, nausea, sleep disturbance, inability to focus on tasks or concentrate. Concussion can also affect emotions and behavior and can lead to unexplained anxiety, fatigue, depression or memory issues.
In the spring, long after your concussion and when the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming, its easy to forget to tell your doctor you smacked your head 3 months ago, when you are in the office seeking treatment for what may appear like something totally irrelevant.
Current literature indicates that there is an ill-defined consensus regarding treatment strategies related to concussion. As time passes, traumatic brain injury can become disguised and creatively intermingled with other behavioral, neurological and musculoskeletal dysfunction. This is why building a support team and an integrated medical approach to assist TBI recovery is crucial.
In addition to your general practitioner or a neurologist, those with TBI may find help and relief with different forms of bodywork or energy work such as massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, craniosacral, myofascial release, or reiki. Further, psychological counseling, dietary modification, yoga or various exercise training can help.
Floating or floatation therapy is emerging to be a valuable adjunct to any therapy being considered for TBI. Floatation therapy, otherwise known as R.E.S.T. or restricted environmental stimulus technique, involves a 5’ x 8’ fiberglass tank filled with 150-180 gallons of skin temperature water ( 93.5 degree) saturated with 1000 pounds of epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate salt. You effortlessly float face up, like a cork, for an hour in a private room. You have a choice of darkness and silence, or lights on and ambient music. Either way the effects of gravity are removed, which is a huge source of stimuli and mental distraction for the brain. It has been scientifically demonstrated that floatation affects regions of the brain that respond similarly to deep meditation, restfulness and anti-anxiety. There is further indication that the brain is very receptive to rest and repair during and after a float session. Existing and current case studies at The Float Zone in Richmond, VA are shedding light on the positive possibilities of recovery from concussion and TBI both by itself and in synergy with other therapies and considerations.
This January and throughout the year, if you or someone you know is suffering from the effects of concussion or TBI, please tell them to consider floatation therapy. Because floating is good for the brain.
For more information on floating and concussion, contact The Float Zone at 804-551-1413 or www.myfloatzone.com.