Float Like a Butterfly

As I told you in my last post, I am going to a 90-minute flotation session on Tuesday. (For those in Melbourne, you can get a 90-Minute Relaxation Package with Flotation Session and Infrared Therapy for $55 from LivingSocial.com!!!!)

podFlotation REST is a form of Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST) that uses a shallow pool of heavy water. The water is made heavy by super-saturating it with Epsom Salt (MgSO4) to the point that a person floats on his or her back effortlessly on the surface of the water like a cork. The water is heated to skin temperature and the pool is enclosed in a lightproof, soundproof environment.

This device, invented by Dr John C Lilly, effectively removes external stimulation and creates a neutral environment that gives the feeling that one is floating comfortably in space. In using this type of therapy, you are given a private room with a shower where you can undress, shower; and step into the pool enclosure. After sitting in the water and lying back to float on the surface, you can then turn out the lights.

The reduced stimulation encountered in the flotation pool refocuses the individual’s attention to internal stimuli. At first this includes the novel sensations of floating effortlessly in darkness and quiet. The sensations of the body become much more salient making flotation REST a walk-in biofeedback device. This natural biofeedback initiates a self-regulation process leading toward relaxation.

This relaxation is augmented by the trans-cutaneous absorption of magnesium that elicits the release of muscle tension. As physical sensations become less salient mental activity can come to the fore. For those not used to being alone with their thoughts this can be difficult. However, even unpleasant thoughts become more palatable as the body enters a more deeply relaxed state. Eventually even the parade of thought subsides and the mind arrives at a meditative state.

A few years ago, anecdotes began to circulate from people with fibromyalgia, that float tanks provided remarkable relief for them. This caught the attention of float researcher Rod Borrie and his collaborators, who noted the remarkable alignment between the effects and benefits of flotation, and the symptoms of fibromyalgia: floating

In 2011 Borrie, Tamara Russell, and colleagues started the Fibromyalgia Flotation Project, with no money, all volunteers, to try to test this treatment on as scientific a basis as possible.  Is there an immediate effect from the float sessions, and if so, does it last?

They sought volunteer subjects with fibromyalgia, and float centres willing to contribute free time in their tanks.  Each volunteer took three hour-long float sessions over three weeks, and answered a questionnaire before and after each session about ten variables:

  • Pain
  • Stress Well-being
  • Bothered by pain
  • Energy
  • Relaxation
  • Muscular tension
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Freedom of movement

When they discussed intermediate results at the 2012 Float Conference, they had had 81 participants across five countries (US, UK, SWE, GER, NL).

The results were astonishingly positive:  “Without exception, the immediate intervention effects (average pre-post change) are highly significant for all variables in the expected direction (e.g., pain ratings decrease on average by 2.3 points on an 11 point scale from pre- to post-intervention).”  There was no control group in the first phase.

(Want to see some figures and pretty pictures?)

These results are exciting, but caution is due as this was not a randomized, controlled study.  One particular item to be cautious about is drop-outs — if the people who didn’t see benefits were to drop out, that alone could cause an impression of improvement of symptoms in the later sessions.

pod-2The Fibromyalgia Flotation Project is continuing into a second phase to follow up on these very promising results, still with no funding.  They’re trying to push both for greater numbers of participants, to better persuade the medical establishment, and also for a longer test period (ten weeks instead of three) to see how sustainable the results are.  It’s all being organized via the internet; sign-up and more information is at Fibromyalgia Flotation Project.

And, hopefully, after Tuesday, I will have my own successful(?) story to tell.


Six Word Fridays: REST

While looking at some of the blogs who have chosen to be part of my new project – FCK Directory – I came across something called Six Word Fridays. Every week Adrienne, at My Memory Art, sends out a prompt {a carefully chosen word} and then anyone involved must build a post around the word, publish it and link up on Fridays. The challenge? To keep each line to only SIX {6} WORDS!! {they don’t count the number of lines, syllables or letters…just the number of words!}

So this is my first attempt. The word for the week: REST.

Youre-Always-Leaving-Me-BehindWhat is the REST of the

world doing while I REST, pacing?

Does it REST – to let me

catch up? No, it keeps racing.

Please, allow me to REST like

a normal person – I need sleep!

I have had enough of pills,

herbal supplements, teas, and counting sheep!

The world races, leaving me behind –

taking my worth, careers and friends.

Why don’t others need to stop

and REST? Or, at least, pretend?

What is the REST of the

world doing while I REST? LIVING!


Bali 7

So this was the plan for today:

  • Wake up (then wake Mommy at 9am)
  • Walk (15 mins) to Bali Deli for brunch
  • Check out fat lady store (about 2 minute walk from Deli)
  • Get eyelash extensions while Mommy has massage (next door to fat lady store)
  • Buy lunch food at Bali Deli and return to Villa (by taxi)
  • Rest and relaxation ‘til about 4pm
  • Get taxi to bottom of Double 6 street
  • Walk/shop for an hour (at most!)
  • Dinner near Legian beach
  • Home by taxi

This seemed liked a nicely-planned, nicely-paced day, with about 1¼ hours of walking for the day – guess what? Didn’t happen!

That luggage under my eyes ain’t going anywhere!

I woke up at about 6am (I am getting about 6 hours sleep a night but it is just not enough. My body needs to sleep properly (somehow). I keep thinking that, if I get exhausted enough, I will sleep properly – not working!) I read my book, fiddled about on the computer then got in the pool. I decided not to wake Mommy – it’s her holiday, too and if she wants to sleep, I’m going to let her.

When Mommy woke up, we walked to Bali Deli (as planned) and had a wonderful brunch of scrambled eggs on toast with exceptionally crispy bacon, accompanied by an apple-orange-carrot juice.

Then we walked to the fat lady store, where there was absolutely nothing for me and Mommy tried on heaps – but it looked horrible. Very disappointing! We had high hopes for that shop.

So, so far, the plan is not too off track…

We were so disappointed that we walked to the fat lady store we had discovered the previous night (probably another 30 minute walk there and back) but, because I hadn’t woken Mommy, it was almost midday and so, so extremely hot!

We didn’t find anything worthwhile there (at least at a price that we were willing to pay) either. So a walk back to the massage place for a one hour massage at $7.00 – gotta love Bali!

Then the plan went quite well for a little while, with lunch IN the pool because we were so hot and it felt decadent. But our rest and relaxation only ended up being about 1.5 hours (including making lunch) because we had started the day so late.

Next, we got ourselves ready and caught a taxi. The taxi driver, about half way through the trip, stopped and told us he had to pick up some-one at the airport – this was as far as he could take us. What the…?

Now came a decision: did we catch another taxi to where we wanted to go? Or, was the universe telling us something and, should we walk around these shops for a while? Well, what did you think I was going to do? SHOPPING!

I found a wonderful bead shop, where, after searching the highs and lows of his store, the shop owner (Rudi) is making me gorgeous wind-on wire bracelets (ie: will fit everyone) with purple shells, purple and silver beads, and a silver butterfly on the end. But firstly, he had to make me a sample so I could make sure that it was up to my exacting standards – so we were to return after dinner.

Then, Mommy and I continued walking. About 10 minutes later, we found another bead store with the exact purple bead I wanted in the centre of the bracelet. I bought one of their bracelets, left Mommy where she was and started back to Rudi’s store to show him what I wanted.

On the way back (and how did I miss it the first time?), I saw a beautiful silver pendant, inlaid with mother of pearl, in the shape of a butterfly. Oh my! perfect for the rubber chokers I found (with a magnetic clasp so we can open and close it without hurting our fingers!) But, I was getting so tired that I knew my brain wasn’t working clearly enough, so I decided I had to return with Mommy (when we came back later) to do the bargaining and money stuff (I’ve been getting really confused with Bali money (too many zeroes) so I refuse to buy anything without Mommy being around to double-check my calculations!)

Now, where was I? Okay, I continued to Rudi’s store, dropped off the beaded bracelet with the perfect bead, turned around and walked back to Mommy. By the time I got back, all I could do was signal to her that I needed a drink FAST! Mommy, being the perfect travelling companion and caring soul, already had one open and waiting for me. I sat down on the footpath and drank the entire juice in about two gulps. My ankles and legs were killing me (have you seen Balinese footpaths?)

We decided (FM decided it for us?) that we should just stop for dinner. We couldn’t be THAT far from the beach restaurant, right? Wrong! We couldn’t even find the beach! So we stopped at another restaurant, which looked rather appealing…

After dinner, we decided we should catch a taxi and have it wait for us at each of the stores (taxis in Bali are not the same as at home – it only cost us $4 to stop at the two stores (LOVE the sample bracelet (Stay tuned for the Bali Collection on my shop) and order before returning home – umm, where I had to run inside (despite my exhaustion) to get to the bathroom as, it appears, that dinner did NOT agree with my tummy!

All in all, quite an eventful (exhausting and not-to-plan) day. Perhaps we’ll stick to the plan a little bit better tomorrow…

******LIP UPDATE******