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Flotation REST for Pregnancy

When I think about flotation REST for pregnancy, I think of the article “Ten Ways to Take Care of Yourself in Pregnancy” at the site Midwifery Today. If you’re pregnant, or close to someone who is, the article is well worth your time. It’s packed with useful and practical information. I was particularly taken with Item 3: “Get plenty of rest. Pace yourself. Take a 10-minute break as often as you can. Take a nap before dinner. Take a nap around lunch time. Go to sleep early and rise as late as you can get away with. Get in the habit of grabbing bits of rest whenever you can — this will make parenting a newborn much easier!”

If you want to find ways to rest during your pregnancy, I’ve got an idea for you: flotation REST. REST in this case is a highly fitting acronym — meaning restricted environmental stimulation therapy. But take it from me, if you haven’t yet tried it, you’ve never had the kind of rest you get from REST. In the float pod, you will relax in freshly filtered water raised to body temperature, made buoyant by epson salt (magnesium sulfate). At best, it can put you into a meditative state. At the very least, it will give you the most refreshing nap you’ve ever had.

Four Principal Benefits

Here are four benefits of flotation REST for your pregnancy:

1. Physical Comfort. Pregnancy can be a state of constant discomfort. For some, it’s like having a medicine ball fastened to your abdomen. The extra weight means normal activities can put extra strain on your muscles. There is no pose or position that can make you forget the baby is there. But in the float pod, buoyancy eliminates the stress of gravity. You can recline for an hour without moving and without even wanting to move. The complete elimination of discomfort can even make you forget you are pregnant, as you lose track of where you end and the rest of the world begins.

2. Stress Reduction. Recent research shows that the way sensory deprivation reduces stress is by reducing the activity of the amygdala (the part of the brain governing the “fight-or-flight” response). And a study at the Float Clinic and Research Center at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Oklahoma found that the reduced activity of the amygdala persists after the float session is over. In other words, once you’ve floated, life continues to be less stressful even after you’ve showered away the epson salts. 

3. Better Sleep. As I reported in this post, a recent research project found people who floated began to fall asleep more quickly at bedtime, and the speed with which they fell asleep continued to increase even 12 weeks after the floating sessions. Floating doesn’t just help you sleep on the day you do it, it enhances your ability to fall asleep over the long term.

4. Empathy. This is kind of a strange benefit, but I believe that by floating for some period of time, you recreate the experience your baby is having. Your baby is floating in an environment of reduced environmental stimulation. You are floating in an environment of reduced environmental stimulation. It’s more than symmetrical — it’s a deep connection with your baby.

Check with Your Doctor

As with any activity during pregnancy, check with your obstetrician before trying flotation REST. I’ve never heard of one objecting to it. Some even say the epsom salts can help top up your prenatal magnesium level. But, especially if you’ve never done it before, you ought to have the blessing of your doctor. And your doctor’s approval can give you the confidence to fully enjoy it.

Once you’ve checked with the doctor, book yourself a float pod session at Peak Recovery & Health Center. It will help you get the rest (and the REST) you need.