Beyond Pharmaceuticals: Float Therapy Triages Veterans, First Responders
By Brooke Davis
U.S. Air Force Veteran
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — When you put on the uniform, you put your country, your fellow citizens, and those you are charged with leading ahead of yourself.
The eventual toll of this commitment comes due and the crushing weight of service takes its toll on your body and mind.
One U.S. Navy veteran found floatation therapy was effective in diminishing the impacts of fight or flight feelings caused by his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis.
“Float therapy is beyond pharmaceuticals,” said National Float It Forward Association (NFIFA) founder Chris Jones. “I wasn’t able to turn off the fight or flight feelings and didn’t want to take medications offered by the VA (Veterans Administration). When I started floating, those feelings turned off.”
Jones founded NFIFA after following roads down VA-led paths that lead to ineffective therapy and bottles of pills. NFIFA supports those who are at high risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), high stress and anxiety, depression, suicide, and addiction because of the nature of their service.
NFIFA works with local float spas to fund floatation therapy for currently serving military members, veterans, first responders, and dependents of military members.
For one military member recently returning from deployment, NFIFA floatation therapy brought much-needed rejuvenation to their being.
“I just returned from Afghanistan a week ago and needed a good float to help refresh my mind and body,” wrote one Active-Duty Soldier. “I always look forward to floating. It helps me unpack my mind and heal my body. I always feel better after a float.”
NFIFA was founded on the belief that floatation therapy is a natural holistic healing solution for hundreds of ailments that affect the entirety of the human spectrum.
Floatation therapy is an escape from the constant stress of life’s daily pressures and a natural way to heal the body, mind, and soul. One thousand pounds of medical-grade Epsom salts are dissolved into 10 inches of water that is heated to your skin temperature in an enclosed space that is light, and sound-proofed.
Law enforcement professionals encounter horrific scenarios and floating offers an outlet to unplug from that world.
“Working crimes against children, it is sometimes difficult to find a positive outlet,” wrote one law enforcement officer. “Floating is one of them, as I found out today. It was great to let go and experience this special type of freedom.”
Serving in high-stress jobs can lead to depression, and suicides among veterans average 17.6 per day, according to a recently released 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report.
“On a whim, I tried floating and it changed my life,” wrote one veteran who completed multiple combat deployments. “My depression has lifted, and I no longer have suicidal thoughts. I feel like a productive part of society again, and my quality of life has dramatically improved. I think I have forgiven myself for surviving. I float regularly and recommend it to anyone with similar issues.”
Deployments can also severely impact families, and floatation therapy helped one family mend after one veteran returned home as a different person.
“When my husband came home from deployment, he was different than when he left,” wrote one military spouse. “He was more detached, drank a lot, did not sleep, and had violent outbursts, and I believe was suicidal because he talked about death a lot.”
With traditional approaches ineffective, the spouse turned to floatation therapy.
“I was at my wit’s end, trying to help him and our family,” she wrote. “I got him a float, unsure if he would try it, but he did, and our family noticed the changes almost immediately. Now he floats regularly and is back to being the man I fell in love with.”
For more information on supporting NFIFA or requesting support services, visit https://nfifa.org/.
*The privacy of veterans and first responders who provide feedback on floatation therapy is our priority. As such, NFIFA has kept the identities of its clientele testimonials private.