A Case Study - Can Floatation Therapy Help Traumatic Brain Injury?

Identification and treatment for traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) and concussion is currently in a state of rapid development and awareness, largely influenced by growing scrutiny in public forums like that of the National Football League and the U.S. Military.  Floatation therapy, floating, or R.E.S.T. ( restricted environmental stimulus therapy) is currently experiencing a renaissance in the United States. Both the float industry and individuals who float are hungry for research demonstrating the benefits of floating.  Dr. David Berv, a Richmond, Virginia sports chiropractor and float center owner of The Float Zone has recently conducted case studies on floating and its affect on traumatic brain injury.

The purpose of this and other TBI case studes conducted at The Float Zone is to observe positive or negative effects of floatation therapy upon various physical, emotional, neurological and psychological aspects of individuals currently coping with a traumatic brain injury. A secondary objective is to determine how float frequency may impact results or progress.  

Diane, case study participant, discusses with Dr. David Berv how floating has helped her address and manage a lingering traumatic brain injury.

In one case study, a 31 year-old female, Diane, had been suffering with traumatic brain injury issues for over 10 years, with minimal improvement and minimal attention to her situation by her medical providers having been reassured it would take about one year for recovery.  After completion of her case study, she noticed that her mood had noticeably improved and she had more energy and focus to perform her basic daily tasks to her professional tasks.   

The idea to study the effects of floatation therapy and brain injury was sparked from Dr. Berv's conversation with multiple individuals who floated at The Float Zone to help recover from brain injuries.  He noticed an overwhelming sentiment of being lost in a medical system, without a team or a collaborative recovery plan, whose main purpose was how to cope rather than how to heal.  Some had been put on antidepressants, others were just told to rest, and others undiagnosed for months post-trauma, as physical injuries clouded their mental and emotional burdens.  

The TBI case studies at The Float Zone all involved subjects floating in a float tank filled with 10” of a salt water solution (approximately 170 gallons), maintained at skin temperature (94 degrees +/.5 degree).  The salt water solution contained 1000 pounds of medical grade Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate.  Subjects floated for 60 minutes in darkness and silence. The frequencies and durations of the case studies differed.  

The results demonstrated significant positive functional improvement in a multitude of categories, as mentioned above, and strongly suggest that floatation therapy can help in managing multiple areas of physical, emotional and neurological dysfunction for individuals coping with traumatic brain injury.  Furthermore, in Diane's case, floating more than once weekly appeared to promote rapid and sustained improvement.  

The case studies on floating are encouraging examples that floating both by itself or in combination with other therapies and lifestyle modifications, can improve the quality of life and functional capability for those with TBI and concussions. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from a brain injury, give floating a try.

Click to read the Case Study Abstract or contact Dr. David Berv for more information including the full results of this TBI case study.  

To learn more about other TBI and pain case studies, visit our Case Study results page.