Float therapy, floating, or sensory reduction tanks involve relaxing in a saltwater pool that creates a near-zero gravity environment. People who love floating swear by its many benefits, including helping you achieve ultra-relaxed states that boost creativity and inspiration, while providing a unique sense of calmness.
Now, some experts are recommending the benefits of floating for new moms who are breastfeeding. And, while the benefits of floating while breastfeeding are still not fully understood, every mom could benefit from some alone time that can be ultra relaxing too.
1. Reduces Muscle Tension
Float therapy can be highly beneficial for new moms (after medical clearance from their doctors) to help alleviate the strains put on their bodies during pregnancy. Because float tanks have high levels of Epsom salts, they help you fully relax all of your muscles while floating.
There is evidence that sensory deprivation tank therapy can help reduce chronic pain and effectively treat tension headaches, muscle tension, and stress-related pain.
2. Provides Stress Relief
Floating in a tank might help relieve migraines and reduce stress overall. Epsom salts are high in magnesium, which can help remove harmful substances from the body. Free radicals are tiny particles that can increase inflammation and lead to a myriad of conditions. Magnesium is an excellent mineral to control free radicals in the body.
Float therapy can also be highly effective in reducing anxiety. Some studies even found that floating can help with depression, irritability, and fatigue – all of which are everyday struggles during the first months of breastfeeding.
3. Helps With Milk Production
A woman’s blood calcium levels gradually decrease while she’s breastfeeding. For some women, the drop in calcium can lead to a decline in milk supply. For women with this problem, supplementing with magnesium and calcium may be helpful. Whether or not the magnesium levels in float tanks are enough to help with milk production is yet to be proven. However, if you are considering float therapy to improve milk production, check with your doctor to see if it could be helpful.
4. Improves Sleep Patterns
Every new mom could use some extra sleeping time; that’s a given. Floating helps create the perfect environment to take a revitalizing power nap. When floating, you experience sensory deprivation, which triggers the brain to make the same experience you get right before falling asleep.
Overall, flotation therapy can help increase sleep time and boost sleep quality. Both critical components of healthy breastfeeding as stress are often the number one culprit of reduced breast milk supply.
5. Improves Overall Wellbeing
Float therapy is an excellent option for women while breastfeeding and well before then. Pregnant women may use float tanks in their second and third trimesters (with clearance from their doctors obviously). Thanks to the almost zero-gravity experience, pregnant women and new moms can find relief from the added weight of pregnancy – including the added weight of your milk production.
It can help soothe any aches and pains generally associated with pregnancy.
How to Get Ready for Float Therapy While Breastfeeding
Once you receive clearance from your doctor, it’s essential to take a few steps before getting into the float tank. We reached out to some float experts for advice, and this is what they had to say:
“I would recommend feeding or pumping before entering the float. It’s very common for moms to experience “letdown” as they begin to settle and relax. Try to empty out as much as possible before going to a floating therapy session.” And that’s not the only reason why. “As your breasts fill up for feeding, they become quite firm and heavy, making the whole experience a tad uncomfortable. Not to mention, very distracting,” said one expert.
Besides these tips, just make sure you choose a responsible and qualified floating therapy service provider. Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable, and get ready to relax and enjoy the many benefits of floating.