Float your stress away

Recently, we were treated to a rejuvenating ‘recovery’ experience at the Koa Recovery and Wellness Centre in Waterloo. Our indulgent treatment comprised a ‘Float Therapy’ session as well as ‘Compression Therapy’.

Photo via Koa Recovery

How did Koa Recovery begin?

Driven by his own positive experience, Koa owner and athlete, Shaun, wanted to introduce others to the range of techniques which helped him on his own injury recovery journey. The treatments offered are Float Therapy, Cryotherapy (sometimes referred to as Cold Therapy which we weren’t quite brave enough to try!), and Compression Therapy using Normatec Compression Boots. All 3 treatments help to achieve optimal health and wellbeing, with the added benefit of instant relaxation. There have also been several reports to suggest the reduction of cellulite associated with these treatments… Win!

What are the benefits of Float Therapy?

Whilst physical recovery, performance enhancement and injury prevention is a primary focus for Koa Recovery, psychological stress (and injury) is also very important. A number of studies have explored the benefits of Float Therapy, aptly named REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) and demonstrated a reduction of stress hormones as well as subjective experience of relaxation. With high levels of stress being reported in our modern lives, Float Therapy is a wonderful way to slow down the nervous system and facilitate mental and physical repair.

Float Therapy Pod

We had heard of Float Therapy before and were aware of its many benefits, so we were very curious to try it for ourselves. We’ll admit, we were somewhat apprehensive about the concept of floating weightlessly in a large pod of water where there was a distinct possibility of falling asleep… (Note: we were reassured it is absolutely impossible to drown because of the high concentration of magnesium). We both experienced slight neck and shoulder tension for the first 5-10 minutes (which is apparently not uncommon) before surrendering to the peacefulness of the experience. We couldn’t believe how quickly the time passed, especially for Hannah, who did actually fall asleep. We were told an hour of sleep in the float pod is the equivalent of 4 hours of regular sleep… we’re not exactly sure how this works but we certainly felt very well rested!

The high concentration of magnesium (in the Epsom Salts), which produces the buoyancy in the water, also allows for reduction of muscle tension. Whilst current studies are somewhat inconclusive in terms of the amount of magnesium that can absorbed transdermally (through the skin), we definitely experienced a sense of muscle relaxation as soreness melted away. We both had slightly sore muscles from exercise prior to our floating experience, which completely disappeared after our short time in the pod. We have read many testimonials where people have reported instant benefits so we are clearly not alone here.

And Compression Therapy?

The experience of the boots was also very enjoyable. The sensation is not dissimilar to that of a blood pressure cuff, (gradual compression, followed by release), beginning with the feet and moving sequentially up to the thighs, mimicking the body’s natural circulatory system. The objectives are to enhance circulation and increase lactic acid clearance.  These recovery boots have even been used in hospital settings to improve recovery, wound healing and help prevent thromboses (blood clots). We can certainly say that our legs felt ‘lighter’ and energised after the treatment.

From our experience we would suggest booking your treatments either late in the day, or to not have too much planned for the afternoon to appreciate the ‘zen’ like state and the deep restorative sleep we both experienced following the treatment. Or alternatively, you could finish with the Cryotherapy… We’re sure that’ll wake you up!