There are digestive health benefits of float therapy. This is explained partly due to the large amount of Epsom salt in the float tank as well as due to the relaxation response elicited when you float.
Epsom Salt Benefits for Digestive Health
Chemically speaking, Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, MgSO4. Magnesium and sulfates are both ingredients in essential biological processes. Both are available in many foods — especially green leafy vegetables — but both can have issues with absorption in the digestive tract.
Without magnesium, our bodies cannot properly digest foods. The mineral magnesium is utilised to aid in the digestion process and to help regulate copper, potassium, zinc, vitamin D and calcium levels within the body. Magnesium also helps muscles contract and activates enzymes that the body needs.
Sulfate is equally essential to a healthy life. The sulfate content from Epsom salt is critical to the formation of mucin proteins that makes the walls of the digestive tract and in lubricating the sliding surfaces of our joints. Studies also explain that sulfates also stimulate the pancreas for generating digestive enzymes and aids in detoxifying the body’s residue of medicines and environmental contaminants. Sulfate deficiency has been found to be a risk factor for rheumoid arthritis and primary biliary cirrhosis.
Relaxation Response and the Digestive System
Under stress, many people experience digestive issues. Why?
The stress response — that fight-or-flight response — is a brilliant evolutionary survival mechanism. All your metabolic energy gets rerouted into survival function, meaning blood will reroute from your midsection and digestive organs to your arms and legs for quick fighting, or to your head for quick thinking and fleeing.
But you don’t have to be battling a lion for this to happen. Faced with any kind of stress or perceived threat, your body will naturally shut down its digestive function; it figures you can deal with the digestive process later, when the threat is past. But as a result of the delay, you can experience all kinds of digestive distress.
The good news is that you can facilitate the digestive process. Actively slowing and deepening your breathing, encourages your parasympathetic nervous system to take over. It throws a switch in the brain that helps us relax and turns on our full digestive and calorie-burning capacity.
It is therefore no surprise that meditation has been found to improve digestion. During meditation, blood oxygen levels and circulation are multiplied. This makes digestion so much easier. On top of that, with repeated practice, your digestive system’s efficiency will build with each session, providing not only immediate relief but also a long term solution.
In light of the above, it is evident that floating has significant benefits for the digestive system.
Floating facilitates the transdermal absorption of magnesium and sulfate ions, bypassing the digestive tract so that nutrients can be assimilated more effectively. In addition, floating produces a natural relaxation response and helps the brainwaves shift into a deep meditative theta state. These two factors make up a powerful combination and can help resolve many digestive issues that are commonly caused due to stressful lifestyles.