Do you suffer from occasional headaches? Or maybe you’re living with chronic migraines? No matter how you slice it, headaches are disruptive and painful, and it can take some time to get relief.
While there’s no replacement for medical treatment, more headache sufferers are looking at holistic options like float therapy for relief. Float therapy is a special type of sensory deprivation therapy that’s growing in popularity as a relaxation technique—and many floaters report experiencing physical benefits from regular float sessions, too.
In this guide, we’ll look at how float therapy works for headaches, the benefits of floating for migraine sufferers, and what you can expect during a float for headache relief.
Table of Contents
Living With the Pain of Chronic Migraines and Headaches
Pretty much everyone has had a headache before. You can get a headache anywhere on your head, including the forehead, scalp, or neck. There are several types of headaches, including:
- Tension headaches: This is the most common type of headache. It’s usually caused by stress or muscle tension.
- Cluster headaches: These headaches are more severe and tend to happen on one side of the head. You might have nasal congestion or a watery eye on the same side.
- Sinus headaches: Sinus inflammation causes these painful headaches, which usually come with the added annoyance of sinus congestion.
- Rebound headaches: You can actually get a headache if you overuse pain medication. Rebound headaches usually happen when you take a big dose of painkillers to get rid of a more severe headache.
You can also get headaches from being dehydrated, straining your eyes, or even from a mild allergic reaction.
Migraine, on the other hand, is more serious. This is a neurological condition that causes intense headaches on one side of the temple. You might also experience symptoms like:
- Severe head or eye pain
- Visual disturbances (called auras) that precede a migraine
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or smells
Migraines also tend to last much longer than a typical headache. In some cases, they can last as long as three days!
If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. You can’t work, drive, or even watch TV.
Some people can prevent headaches by avoiding known triggers, but even then, there isn’t a true cure for migraines. Most headache sufferers rely on a range of traditional therapies for relief, including:
- Sensory deprivation: Light, sound, and smells make headaches worse, so migraine sufferers usually have to lie in a dark, quiet room for hours.
- Ice packs: Sometimes, applying a cold pack can provide quick relief.
- Over-the-counter medication: Popping a Tylenol or Excedrin is a common way headache sufferers can keep their pain levels in check.
- Prescription medication: If a doctor diagnosed you with migraines, they likely also gave you some kind of pain medication designed just for migraines. These work well, but the downside is that it can take a few hours for them to kick in, and they almost always come with side effects.
Traditional medicine certainly helps. Even so, many headache sufferers are looking for ways to prevent headaches in the first place, which is why more people are turning to natural options like float therapy.
Understanding Float Therapy
Float therapy is a relaxing experience where you float in a dark, silent pod filled with body-temperature water. The tank is soundproof and filled with concentrated Epsom salt, which makes you completely buoyant. Once you settle in, it feels like you’re floating weightlessly in a gravity-free space.
Most float sessions last anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. This gives floaters a much-needed break from the stress of their daily routines and even offers some physical relief.
4 Ways Floating Helps Manage Headaches
Are you considering float therapy? While it isn’t a replacement for medical treatment, floating offers a range of psychological and physical benefits that can help manage migraine and headache pain.
1. Magnesium Absorption
Do you suffer from migraines? Several studies have found that people with chronic migraines also tend to have low magnesium levels.
A 2011 study found that giving patients magnesium sulfate decreased light and sound sensitivity. Patients who had migraines with aura seemed to get more relief from the magnesium than people with aura-less migraines.
Researchers are still trying to figure out why people with migraines have lower magnesium levels, but research suggests supplementing magnesium sulfate could help prevent headaches and make migraine symptoms less severe.
Float therapy pods are saturated with Epsom salt, which contains magnesium sulfate, that your skin absorbs during a float. Regular floating could help boost your magnesium levels and improve headache symptoms.
2. Muscle Relaxation
Do you suffer from tension headaches? People with chronic back or neck pain tend to get headaches from the tension carried in the body.
The Epsom salt contained in a float pod can help reduce muscle inflammation and even increase blood flow to your muscles. The weightlessness of floating also takes the pressure off of your neck and back, giving your body a chance to let go of tension and rest.
3. Stress Reduction
Seventy percent of migraine sufferers say stress is a migraine trigger. It’s hard to manage stress, though, especially when you’re juggling the demands of your career and personal life.
Float therapy creates intense feelings of relaxation, which reduces the amount of stress chemicals in the body. In fact, a 2018 study found that a one-hour float session reduced symptoms of anxiety, so adding float therapy to your routine could reduce stress and the headaches it triggers.
4. Sensory Deprivation
Light, sound, and smells can trigger or exacerbate headaches and migraines. Float pods are perfect for peace, silence, and tranquility. Float therapy works on the principle of sensory deprivation, which can give you some much-needed relief from headache-causing stimuli.
What To Expect When Floating for Headache Relief
Are you curious about trying float therapy? Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect when you try float therapy.
Preparing for the Appointment
Schedule a float ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. For first-timers, we recommend 60 minutes to get the full experience. Some people float once a week, while others float monthly—it’s up to you!
To prepare for your float appointment, avoid dyeing your hair or shaving 24 hours before. The salt in the tank can leach fresh color out of your hair and cause irritation to recently shaved or waxed skin.
During the Float
When you arrive for your appointment, the friendly Krysus HP team will greet you and check you in. We’ll take you to a changing room, where you’ll change into a robe and slippers. We recommend floating nude, but you’re welcome to wear a swimsuit if that’s more comfortable.
We’ll then take you to a private float room. The room will be softly lit and have music quietly playing. You’ll use the in-room shower and then put on a swim cap and earplugs.
Steadily lower yourself into the float pod. After a few minutes, the music and lights will gently fade, and you’ll enjoy total darkness and silence. Find a comfortable position using the float buoys provided by Krysus HP. Focus on your breathing and meditate in the stillness of the pod.
If you ever feel dizzy or overwhelmed by the lack of stimuli, you’re free to exit the pod at any time.
After the Float
The lights and music will begin to fade in towards the end of your session. You’ll exit the pod, shower, and put your robe and slippers back on. Head back to the changing room to put your street clothes back on and enjoy the rest of your day!
If you think you might feel sleepy after a float, ask a friend or family member to pick you up.
When To Avoid Floating
Remember, floating isn’t a replacement for medical treatment, so it’s always best to ask your doctor about float therapy.
If you’re in the middle of a severe migraine, it’s best to seek medical attention. You should avoid floating if you’re in severe pain or if you’re feeling dizzy or nauseous. As a rule of thumb: if you’re in agonizing pain, can’t see, or can’t drive, please avoid floating and get medical attention.
While float therapy is generally considered safe, it can come with negative side effects. You should avoid float therapy if you have kidney disease, epilepsy, or skin injuries.
Get Headache Relief: Try Flotation Therapy at Krysus HP
Life’s too short to be in pain. Float therapy isn’t a magic bullet for headaches and migraines, but it can boost magnesium levels, lower stress, and provide pain relief in a stimulus-free environment.
The best way to know if floating will relieve your headaches is to give it a try. Book your first float session at Krysus HP to experience the blissful relaxation and relief that come with regular float therapy.