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October 20, 2021

Athletic Recovery Study

Athletic recovery is on many of our members minds. This study done in 2019 focuses on athletic recovery using float therapy as part of the recovery regimen.

Summary Floatation-Restricted Environmental Stimulation

Summary of Research Paper

“Flotation-restricted environmental stimulation therapy improves sleep and performance recovery in athletes”

– Vipan Broderick, Liis Uiga, Matthew Driller, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand (2019)

● The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of flotation-restricted environmental stimulation therapy (FLOAT) on recovery from exercise.

Set up

● Nineteen trained, male team-sport athletes (age: 21 ± 2 years) completed two trials separated by seven days.
● The team-sports from which the participants partook in were basketball, football, and rugby. All participants played at regional level, where they performed an average of three training sessions and one match per week for their sport.
● Two groups, the float group had one hour of floating for recovery post exercise. Second group were the control trial group which included one-hour of passive recovery following exercise.
● Float sessions were 45 mins with the control group sat in a temperature-controlled (21 ± 1◦C), dim-lit room for one-hour where they were to refrain from the use of any electronic devices.
● Performance and pressure-to-pain algometer measures were taken pre- and post-exercise and the following morning.
● Participants attended four separate testing sessions (2 evening testing sessions, 2 morning testing sessions) over a period of two weeks.
● Performance measures included an isometric mid-thigh pull, countermovement jump (CMJ), a 15 m sprint, and a repeated sprint test.
● Perceived measures of muscle soreness (MS) and physical fatigue (PF) were recorded up to 24 h post testing.
● Salivary cortisol samples were collected pre- and post-exercise and post recovery.
● Sleep was monitored via wrist-actigraphy.


● Floating was found to significantly enhance countermovement jump, 10 m sprint and 15 m sprint performance with small to moderate effects for all performance measures, compared to the control trial group.
● The results also show significantly higher pressure-to-pain thresholds across all muscle sites and lower muscle soreness and physical fatigue 12 h following the float session.
● All sleep measures resulted in small to large effects, with a significantly greater perceived sleep quality for the float trial group compared to the control group.
● There were no significant differences and a trivial effect size between trials for changes in cortisol concentration.

Take Away

● Participants reported being significantly less physically fatigued at 12h post-recovery following a float session.
● The main findings from the study indicated beneficial results for performance recovery.
● The findings also showed significant benefits in pressure-to-pain threshold across all
muscle landmarks following a float session.
● Floating may be an effective method to influence sleep following exercise.
● The utilisation of floating following exercise may enhance sleep and performance
recovery in athletes.



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Scientific References

Stress Turner, J., Hormones and REST: A Controlled Study of REST-Assisted Relaxation, Paperdelivered at First International Conference on REST and Self-Regulation, Denver. Colorado, 1983  

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