Float Therapy and the Stress Response: Implications for the Elite Athlete and Special Operator

Lydia Caldwell join us at Float Conference for an incredible talk regarding how flotation can help balance the stress response in elite athletes and military operators. 

Lydia is a researcher for Ohio State University, and has worked with the Air Force Research Lab in collaboration with their STRONG program, a program focused on enhancing human performance and recovery, conducted through the 711th Human Performance Wing. They have recently started to incorporate float tanks into their research, and Lydia speaks at the 2017 Float Conference to discuss the program and the results it has shown so far.

Emphatically, Lydia mentions "...our mission really transcends any military branch, because our focus is to improve the performance and help sustain both the health and safety of the military special operator."


An additional article regarding the program and the collaboration with Ohio State University from the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base "711th HPW recovery science team hopes to extend AF careers" can be viewed in its entirety by clicking on the article title. 

"By measuring resting heart rate variability in the morning, they can definitively tell how stressed or recovered they are from the previous day. If stress is adding up, Hagen and his team can quantitate that so if they see their number is a certain way in the morning, there are things they can do to change those numbers so the operators can be in the best state to perform.

“It is always a game of staying balanced,” Hagen said. “You can be overly sympathetic where you are still in fight or flight stress mode and you have not recovered, or you can be highly parasympathetic, which means your recovery system has not kicked in.”  

Nervous System Response to Flotation Therapy_ Balancing sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in special forces operators

Flotation Restricted Environmental Stimulating Therapy (REST), is one next-generation recovery method that Hagen and his team have found both sympathetic and parasympathetic modification where other recovery methods typically help only one.

The Flotation-REST therapy is a sensory deprivation tank containing 900 pounds of Epsom salt in body temperature water, which gives the feeling of weightlessness. The flotation therapy users float 45 to 60 minutes once a week putting them directly back in sympathetic/parasympathetic balance."

While researching the benefits of using Flotation-REST, the team discovered that along with physical recovery, athletes’ coping skills to stress related to academics and athletics such as academics and athletics improved."

Click photo below to see video coverage of Lydia's entire presentation.


  For additional information or to discuss how flotation therapy can impact your special forces unit, please contact Beth Jones - beth@floatspasf.com or 910-526-0244.

We are currently located in Sneads Ferry - just out the back gate of Camp Lejeune. We will soon have an additional location in Fayetteville, NC near Fort Bragg. If you are interested in building a float center in your community, please click here.