Pain affecting the joints affects almost one in five people in France. Medication and other treatments (physiotherapy, osteopathy, orthopaedics, etc.) are often not very effective. It is now recognised by science that floating in a sensory isolation chamber is a real help against joint pain. Between unrestricted weightlessness and the effectiveness of Epsom salt, let’s take a closer look at how this original “therapy” works.


The human body has no less than 400 joints. Between age, trauma, mechanical wear, inflammation, etc., they become sources of more or less intense and disabling pain.

The medical world identifies different kinds of pain :

– those from inflammation of the joint and nearby organs: tendons and ligaments, orarthritis, which may be acute or chronic. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of them.

– resulting from the degeneration of cartilage: this is osteoarthritis, which itself leads to inflammation.

There are of course many causes (age, injuries, intense sports, obesity, infections, etc.) and the diagnosis can be difficult.

The consequences are numerous, in addition to the often profound pain: deformations of the joints can appear, leading to a definite handicap, particularly when walking.

Traditional treatments, depending on the pain, range from anti-inflammatory or antibiotic drugs to surgery and physiotherapy. However, whatever therapy is used, relief is often partial and of limited duration.

This is where floating in sensory deprivation is a valuable addition to the therapy being provided.



Floating without constraint or when weightlessness relieves pain

The principle of sensory isolation was created in the 1960s by a neuropsychiatrist who studies the brain and consciousness. Since then, many scientific studies have investigated the multiple benefits of float therapy in tanks designed to eliminate as many of the five main senses as possible.

Float capsules are closed devices that are isolated from noise, light, odours and especially from touch. To achieve this performance, the body floats in a pool with water at an ideal temperature and a high concentration of Epsom salt or magnesium sulphate to ensure buoyancy.

In fact, floating in this type of device combines three natural treatments: heat, physical relief of the joints and the benefits of Epsom salt. Not to mention, as we shall see, the importance of relaxation and stress reduction.


Relief for joints, muscles and tendons

Freed from the constraints of weightlessness (the body “loses” 80% of its weight), the muscles and tendons relax little by little. The joints are no longer under constant pressure. The absence of gravity itself relieves the whole body.


A beneficial heat

To “erase” the sense of touch, the water and air in the float pod are at an ideal temperature. The effect is immediate: the body floats without any stimulus on the skin.

People suffering from arthritis or osteoarthritis know that heat is one of the treatments for joint pain: a simple hot water bottle or a hot bath provides immediate relief. During a one-hour session in a float tankn, the whole body is bathed in a comfortable warmth.


The benefits of Epsom salt

Optimal flotation is not possible in simple water. Knowing the virtues of Dead Sea water, the researchers first introduced a high concentration of salt into the basin before turning to the famous Epsom salt. In addition to its densification property, which allows for unhindered floating, magnesium sulphate is known for other benefits (see this page) and in particular the relief of joint pain, fatigue, rheumatism, etc. It is a very popular muscle relaxant for athletes.
Magnesium is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, ideal for the treatment of certain conditions including arthritis, and it stimulates the immune system.

The ‘one more thing’ of float therapy : deep relaxation

Joint pain is a major stress factor in everyday life: difficulty walking, getting up, constant pain, etc. Life for people with arthritis or osteoarthritis is far from being a smooth ride.

This is why some doctors advocate meditation as an aid to their more conventional therapy. A study explicitly shows the beneficial effects of stress reduction on people with rheumatoid arthritis. (1)

Floating in a sensory isolation chamber provides the same effects as meditation, and does so more easily and quickly.

Floating in a warm cocoon, in an unprecedented tranquillity and deep calm, the brain’s rhythm slows down. Beta waves, markers of activity, give way to theta waves, the same ones that have been found during deep meditation in Buddhist monks.

The lasting serenity after a float session and the release of stress soothe the mind of people suffering from joint pain and contribute to general well-being.

Another important factor is that floating improves the quality of sleep. And we know the problems caused by fatigue: depression, anxiety, etc. but also increased pain.

Relieving joint pain with float therapy is not just a claim on our part. There are many serious scientific studies investigating its benefits on joint problems.


In 2012, the team of Drs. Borrie, Russel and Schneider presented the findings of their study “The Effects of Flotation REST on the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia ». Extensive analysis shows “convincing and strong evidence” of benefits for pain, muscle tension, stress, sleep, anxiety. But also a long lost ease of movement.

As early as 1993, John Turner and his staff (2) demonstrated the effects of isolation in warm water (a control group would be isolated in the same capsules but on a polymer hammock-style support) on improving grip strength and range of motion in people with rheumatoid arthritis. The experiment also proved a significant decrease in pain.

In 1999, the study on 14 osteoarthritis patients made the point: “the study of floatation spa therapy” showed a significant improvement in the condition of the people.

Whatever your health, a float session will always be a beneficial experience. If you suffer from pain, especially around the joints, come and try the capsules in our centres: relaxation, hot water, Epsom salt, everything is done to make you feel better. Don’t wait any longer to book your session in our Lyon or Bordeaux centres at this page.

(1) Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Elizabeth K. Pradhan, Mona Baumgarten, Patricia Langenberg, Barry Handwerger, Adele Kaplan Gilpin, Trish Magyari, Marc C. Hochberg, Brian M. Berman. Arthritis Care & Research, October 2007.

(2) Effects of Flotation REST on Range of Motion, Grip Strength and Pain in Rheumatoid Arthritics John Turner, Jr., Anna DeLeon, Cathy Gibson and Thomas Fine