For most of us catching covid now means nothing more serious than a few days in bed, but for many others the covid-19 era is not over yet. There are a great number of people who are still suffering with long-covid, which continues to have a huge impact on their daily lives.
Over the past year (Nov 2021 - Nov 2022) Floating Point has been supporting long covid patients with recovery and managing their symptoms which have included the following,
- Brain Fog
- Problems Sleeping
- Joint and muscle pain
All 40 participants in this case study had been suffering with long covid symptoms for a minimum period of 6 months. Their treatment plan consisted of two 60 min float sessions and one 40 min infrared sauna session, this was over a period of 4 weeks with 10 days between treatments.
We tracked and recorded data via specially designed research questionnaires that were completed pre and post treatments to ascertain the efficacy of the treatments in relation to reducing long covid symptoms.
The most common symptoms across all participants were fatigue, brain fog, depression and anxiety.
Here are the key results from the case study,
The infrared sauna had the biggest impact on the severity of fatigue, there was an overall average decrease of 2 positions on the scale within the parameters of 0 being not present & 10 being life disturbing. There were a few participants where their fatigue levels dropped by 3 points. Eg. 7 to 4. This was an overall drop in severity of fatigue symptoms of around 25%.
The results from the floatation therapy sessions also point to a decrease in the severity of fatigue, again with an average decrease of 2 positions on the scale within the parameters of 0 being not present & 10 being life disturbing. This was an overall drop in severity of fatigue symptoms by 20%.
There was also a decrease in levels of anxiety, with an overall average decrease of 2 positions on the scale, with 5 participants dropping by 3 positions. This was also the case for levels of depression, where there was an average decrease of 2 positions on the scale within the parameters of 0 being not depressed & 10 being extremely depressed. This was an overall drop in severity of depression and anxiety by 20%.
There is a good bank of quality research that highlights the benefits of floating for the reduction of anxiety and stress. This was definitely noticeable for many of the participants, we had one participant who was having panic attacks 6+ times a week, following their first float session they had 2 panic attacks all week. Research published in PLoS ONE by Dr Justin Feinstein (2018) 13, specifically noted how floating affects people with signs of stress, depression, and anxiety. After just one float participants mood improved and anxiety was reduced.
The Infrared sauna had a noticeable impact on the reduction of fatigue and brain fog in the days after their sauna session. Robust evidence suggests that sauna use promotes mild hyperthermia, which, in turn, induces a wide array of beneficial physiological responses.
These responses reduce oxidative stress and inflammation and activate cellular defence systems such as heat shock proteins, which provide protection against many diseases.
Both treatments had a very positive impact on the participants, it gave their minds and bodies a chance to rest, recharge & relax which is important. Managing long covid is mentally and physically challenging, floating and the infrared sauna have shown to be beneficial in both these areas and improving quality of life. An overall decrease in levels of fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and depression by an average of 20% is quite a signifiant drop for those suffering with long covid. We hope to help many more people moving forward.
Here are a few comments from the participants,
'The day following my IR Sauna I woke with a clear head (very rare since having Covid) and feeling energised. I have had 2 good night’s sleep and feel less fatigued and more alert.’
‘I feel less stressed and anxious after the sessions.’
‘I felt less stressed and had less anxiety attacks.’
‘The float did help me with focusing on my breathing, and relaxing.’
‘I felt so relaxed and chilled, I thought I would be anxious as it was the 1st time, I had done anything like this before. Michael was so nice and welcoming, and the facilities was so calm and clean. My body pain was so much lower after and still several hours later. It will be interesting to see how my body feels tomorrow. I suffer from depression and my brain has not felt this empty for years if that makes sense.’
‘Slept well. Able to clean windows today without feeling burnt out.’
‘I felt a real feeling of boosted energy after my session. Felt extremely relaxed and this feeling stayed with me over next few days too. I managed to also play my mixed badminton for the 1st time. My breathing has also felt easier.’
‘For my own individual needs, I found the infrared Sauna very relaxing and allowed me to destress a lot.’
‘I am feeling more energised generally and though I still get bit breathless and have some days when I get very wiped out, I mainly feel like I am able to do more. I push myself at work now but still Not fully up to managing my normal exercise level yet. Hopefully it will be something I introduce soon again.’
For more information on reducing cortisol levels and inflammation please read the previous blog post