Concussions and Float Tanks

 Concussions and Float Tanks

Concussions are prevalent in professional sports. Floating is one effective way to alleviate the effects of concussion. One hour in silence and the absence of sound is a treat to the brain. You can also use a red light in the float tank to help minimize the issues from traumatic brain injury like concussion.

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Chronic low back pain improves with floatation therapy

Chronic low back pain improves with floatation therapy

Chronic back pain is of epidemic proportions. Medical professionals are seeking complementary ways to manage pain. Floatation therapy is showing promise and proof through case studies such as those being conducted at The Float Zone in Richmond, VA. 

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Sculpture Dedicated to True Value of Floatation Therapy

As a pain management specialist for over two decades, I have seen how pain can change and manipulate a person’s brain, behavior and being. Despite my best efforts to practice what I preached, my own chronic pain was a distraction and the source of significant physical and emotional disability. Chronic pain was a primary catalyst for the eventual expression of my multiple sclerosis.  The combination of these issues played games with my brain and my body. 

Coincidentally at this time,  I discovered floatation therapy which lightened both my physical and emotional burden.  One of the most remarkable benefits of floating is how effortlessly it allows for a state of internal reflection and focus.  It’s like meditation on steroids.  I’ve spent numerous hours floating atop 10” of super salty skin temperature water, visualizing the reduction and elimination of both pain and lesions in my brain and spinal cord.  During this time of deep inner reflection to heal myself, it brought me to some realizations about myself, my surroundings, my emotional health, my relationships with others, gaining clarity on my purpose, my goals, future and direction. 

One such result is that floating encouraged my transition towards retirement from clinical chiropractic and acupuncture to that of helping others through providing floatation therapy services to others in need.

                                                                 Internal Focus by Lee HAZELGROVE                                                                                      The FLOAT ZONE

                                                                 Internal Focus by Lee HAZELGROVE
                                                                                    The FLOAT ZONE

In July 2017, the week of my retirement, I was visiting the United Network For Organ Sharing, here in Richmond, VA. Within this beautiful modern, life saving facility are artistic displays from local artists.  As part of the exhibit, there was a ceramic sculpture hanging on the wall, entitled “Internal Focus”.  It spoke to me. And in one moment, it captured years of thoughts and visualizations and emotions -  tears, pain, joy, excitement, and hope.  It reminded me of my relationship and journey with the float tank. I immediately purchased the sculpture with the intention of displaying it at The Float Zone.  

Internal Focus, by Lee Hazelgrove, now hangs in the entry of The Float Zone as a dedication to all who come to float with the hope they too will find relief, calm, focus, direction, awareness, and the healthy state that naturally follows.  

Beginning in February, 2018, The Float Zone will be featuring the work of local artists that too have been inspired by floating.

-Dr. David Berv, Chief Experience Officer, The Float Zone

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

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

Traumatic brain injury is a hot topic thanks to professional athletes who are finally speaking out about the dangers and long term effects.  Many with TBI are mismanaged and lost in a system that has no consensus on treatment.  Floatation therapy has been shown to help those with TBI and should be considered in the mix.  Case studies at The Float Zone in Richmond, VA have shown promise in the TBI arena.

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Floatation Shows Promise for Brain Injury Awareness

Read This If You Have Lost Your Mind (or have a brain injury)

Floatation therapy shows promise for brain injury.  Brain research is a rapidly developing field, but there remains much that we do not understand about how the brain operates. Traumatic brain injury and concussion are significant disabilities involving a large age range. Identification and treatment for traumatic brain injury ("TBI") and concussion is currently in a state of development and awareness, largely influenced by growing scrutiny in the National Football League and the U.S. military. 

Seth MacFarlane brilliantly uses humor in a recent Family Guy episode - "Stewie gets a concussion" - to demonstrate how lingering side effects ( disorientation, mood disorders and various sensory disturbances) essentially become an individual's “new normal.”

A Richmond, VA individual who is currently suffering from a TBI lifestyle, echoes the sentiments of Family Guy’s concussion episode, when she recently stated, “I already knew the world doesn't like talking about matters of the brain - things like brain injury, recovery, rehab, mental health, addiction, suicide, trauma, sensory disorders, cognitive function, etc”… This brings home the sentiment of MacFarlane’s poking at the way in which the big, political business of professional sports, as well as our own military has played a key role in furthering this hidden epidemic from mainstream consciousness.  

Regardless of the increasing awareness of TBI, we are just beginning to understand the depths of the brain and how to repair it.  Further, because of the extent, quantity and quality of symptoms that vary from person to person, there is no consensus on the best method in which to treat TBI induced migraine, visual and auditory hallucinations, mood disorders, executive functioning, sleep disorder, and much more with a tried and true treatment - especially when many who suffer a TBI don’t even realize they have a TBI for many months after their original trauma.  Misdiagnosis happens. Some with TBI think they are just depressed. Anxious. Forgetful. Some get lost in the “system” and emerge without a concrete therapeutic direction.

Unfortunately, TBI not only affect those with the brain injury, but their family and friends.  It takes a unique understanding, compassion and patience from loved ones.  It can be incredibly frustrating for both parties and the affects of friendships and family can be catastrophic.      

As a sports chiropractor having studied the brain and central nervous system, as well as learning concussion, return to play (and work) protocols, I have long understood the devastating impact that concussive forces can have on the brain and its control of both the body and mind. I have worked with professional athletes and seen how concussions can interrupt a career.  

Being a float center owner with a neuro-musculo-skeletal lens, it has opened up a window in my mind as to a whole new world of possibility for those suffering with the effects of mild TBI and TBI. In my time in the sports medicine world, there were often days and months when particular conditions such as fibromyalgia, disc herniations or a complicated pain referral pattern would pervade the schedule.  It made me pay extra attention and often gave pause for reflection on making sure to consider other tandem treatment options that may leverage the healing process.  In my growing expertise in the floatation therapy world, I am noticing that many are seeking out floatation as a way to leverage their healing process. Some float in combination with physical therapy.  Some float in combination with counseling, massage, energy work, medications, functional medical approaches, exercise therapy, acupuncture, and much more.  Floating appears to assist any TBI therapeutic mind/body approach.  But floating, like the brain is still not well-known. 

Floatation or restricted environmental stimulus therapy ( R.E.S.T. ), involves effortlessly floating face up in a private room, in an oversized fiberglass tub that is filled with 10” of skin temperature (93-94 degree) water and saturated with 1000 pounds of Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate).  The premise is to remove routine environmental and physical stimulation, such as light, sound, and gravity.  You can choose to modify the level of sensory restriction by leaving the lid of the pod open or closed, being in complete darkness or leaving the light on, complete silence or listening to ambient music.  Regardless, you are floating effortlessly and your brain likes it.  Our brains spend a lot of time processing our orientation in space, as well as sights, sounds, walking, driving, digital imagery and more. We never unplug.  R.E.S.T. gives the brain a chance to rest. Through the peculiar sense of brain rest and rejuvenation that occurs with floating, it would stand to reason that what Norman Doidge, MD discusses in his bestselling books on neuroplasticity, or the brain's ability to rewire itself, could apply directly to floating. And this may be key in unlocking some of the secrets of the brain and how to heal itself.  

Case studies are currently being done at The Float Zone in Richmond, VA  which take into account physical, emotional, neurological and psychological aspects of individuals currently coping with traumatic brain injury of various duration and disability.  In one such case study, the subject is a 39 year-old female dentist with a moderate-severe traumatic brain injury following a major motor vehicle accident 14 months prior.  Symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, confusion, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, headaches and other, directly related to her brain injury.  She has not found any treatment or combinations of treatment that have been remarkably helpful. The case study observes effects of floatation therapy upon various physical, emotional, neurological and psychological aspects. The results are encouraging.  Click here to read the abstract      (coming soon). For the full case study, contact Dr. David Berv ( see below).

The rapidly emerging industry of Floatation Therapy, along with the growing interest and awareness of concussion and TBI is bound for a positive collision course, for the greater good of the brain injury community.  Floatation and R.E.S.T. may help to pave the way for an improved integration, cooperation and communication between medical and alternative medical treatment services. If you or someone you know has a TBI, floatation should seriously be considered.  If you or someone you know is a mind/body healthcare provider of any type, R.E.S.T. should be on the radar. 

For more on floating and concussion/TBI, contact Dr. David Berv at The Float Zone: david@myfloatzone.com   www.myfloatzone.com

 

Typical Float pod in private room with shower

Typical Float pod in private room with shower

If Winter Sports Cause Concussion, Floating May Help

Concussion in progress... Photo by shinichiro tanaka

Concussion in progress... Photo by shinichiro tanaka

 

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.

 

Example of Pod used in concussion case studies AT the float zone

Example of Pod used in concussion case studies AT the float zone

Gastronomy and Floating

        RICHMOND CHEFS FIND INSPIRATION THROUGH FLOATATION 

WAS THIS A FLOATATION INSPIRED GASTRONOMIC CREATION?

WAS THIS A FLOATATION INSPIRED GASTRONOMIC CREATION?

A symbiotic relationship has always existed between any culture and its food that makes culinary artists such an important subset of any community.   A local example of this is the varied and talented gastronomists of Richmond, Virginia that continually carve local culture.  Over the past several years, Richmond has transformed into a foodie culture. There are an impressive number of rising and talented local chefs whose creations are only limited by their own inspiration.  However, the work of a chef is much more than just the planning, purchase, prep, staff instruction and execution of the meal.  Administrative duties, equipment maintenance,  marketing and other intricacies of the kitchen often hinder proper sleep patterns, which affect the very inspiration needed to keep producing new and different gastronomical masterpieces. This is why chefs like to float - and many Richmond chefs have floated at The Float Zone.

Floating or floatation involves a sleek 8’ by 5’ fiberglass “pod”.  It is filled with 10” of skin temperature water and saturated with 1000 pounds of Epsom salt.  There are light and music controls within the pod for which you can float in the light or dark and listen to music or silence.  The pod can be left open or closed, while you float face up effortlessly like a cork, for an hour.  By removing gravity and other sensations such as light, sound or the sensation of water temperature, the brain enters a very restful, restorative and left/right brain synchronized state.  Further, the magnesium salts have a powerful muscle relaxing and pain relieving effect.  The result is that one feels both physically and mentally refreshed.  

A pleasant side effect of this sleep-promoting, stress-reducing therapy is that it seems to inspire creativity.  Sometimes that new idea comes in the middle of a float. Sometimes it happens on the ride home afterwards or through a float inspired dream that night. But when you feel calmer for the next few days, less reactive and brighter in mind and body, you’ll appreciate the benefit of the float experience. 

The month of July is culinary arts appreciation month. We appreciate great gastronomical efforts and thank all RVA chefs along with their support staff, for all the culinary inspiration that you bring to our city!