Float Therapy for Back Pain

Colin Cook

There is better than a one in four chance you’re suffering from low back pain right now. One in four is the proportion of people who reported suffering from low back pain in a major study of U.S. adults. Low back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders, and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. I believe float therapy is helpful for back pain, and that’s the subject of this post.


But relieving back pain might not be a simple proposition. One of the reasons back pain is so common is that it is not a single disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, back pain can come from muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured discs, arthritis, spine irregularities, or osteoporosis. It can also be psychosomatic. Or it can even be a combination of those things.

Managing Back Pain

This means that everybody’s back pain is individual, if not unique. If you need treatment for back pain, you may need to consult a personal trainer, an orthopedist, a physical therapist, a rheumatologist, an endocrinologist, a psychiatrist, a geriatrician, or an internist… The list threatens to be endless. The truth is, you may need to see any or all of these specialists. And when a condition can attract so many specialists, it means that the task of managing it falls mostly on the individual sufferer.


Managing pain means understanding it and your reaction to it, as well as understanding what triggers it for you. When you suffer from back pain, some of what you feel comes not from the source of the pain but your reaction to it. You feel a twinge, and your muscles tense in response. The tension exaggerates the pain, which causes more tension, and so on.

Break the Pain Cycle

You need to break the cycle of pain and tension. That’s where float therapy comes in. During float therapy, you float in an Epsom salt solution that is heated to body temperature. The salt water makes you remarkably buoyant, and the experience is like resting in zero gravity. You are weightless and you can discern no pressure points. You begin to lose track of where you end and the rest of the world begins, and your pain lessens because it occupies a much smaller part of your attention. Some find that with their mind taken off the pain, it vanishes completely. The pain will likely return when the float session is over, but spending 45 minutes without it can break the pain-tension-pain cycle, which means it will be reduced.

Float Therapy for Back Pain

I often cite “Flotation REST in Applied Psychophysiology,” an article by Thomas Fine and Roderick Borrie. REST is an apt acronym that stands for reduced environmental stimulation technique. It’s what you get when you relax in the float chamber with the lights off and the door closed. The article describes how flotation REST reduces blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. There are lots of tension relieving techniques available, but flotation REST is exceptional in that the reductions in blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension persist after the floating is finished. Furthermore, flotation REST causes a reduction in cortisol, the stress hormone. Research shows the cortisol reduction persists between sessions, which could mean that REST actually resets the hormone to a more healthy level.


Reset your cortisol levels and break the cycle of pain and tension that is sustaining your back pain. Book a float therapy session at Peak Recovery & Health Center today.