If you’re not relentless about your diet, your sleep, and the amount of post-workout BJJ recovery training you’re doing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, like any other martial art or strenuous physical training program, can be pretty rough on your joints and tissues. Luckily for all of us, we live in an era where a wide variety of therapeutic recovery options are available to the public.
True that these BJJ recovery options may be a bit too costly for absolutely everyone to enjoy at this point, there are often discount packages available at online coupon retailers that make them substantially more affordable, especially if you’re going with a friend. If you find your chosen source (or sources) of therapy to be invaluable to your training, many facilities offer discounted subscription programs. You can also check into options for athlete sponsorship if you’re a serious competitor.
In this series, I will be discussing a few of the primary contenders currently available to the public for therapeutic use, covering a specific topic with each entry. For our first entry, we’ll discuss Floating. “Floating” is the common term used for the practice of floatation therapy, performed in a sensory deprivation tank.
On paper, it might sound kind of intimidating, and early float tanks were almost terror-inducing visually, but spending time in a float tank is one of my favorite ways to meditate and recover. Luckily, modern float tanks, often “float pods” at most commercial float centers, are WAY more inviting. The mood at most of these facilities is similar to that of a nice massage therapy center; quite tranquil and serene, the pods themselves typically emitting soothing colored lights as you step into the room.
The tanks are filled to usually 10” of water loaded with about 800-1200 pounds of Epsom salt and heated to a perfectly skin-neutral temperature. The magnesium dose from the salt is great for your skin, muscles, ligaments, and joints, not to mention stress relief and wound healing. These properties make it ideal for BJJ recovery. There seems to be a majority consensus of online sources that think that most people are magnesium-deprived, and skin absorption is one of the most efficient ways of consuming the useful and necessary mineral.
The benefits of magnesium alone could warrant an entire post, but there’s plenty of easily-searchable information out there if you want to know more, so we’ll move on. One of the other significant physical benefits of floatation in your BJJ recovery is in the name. You’re essentially putting your body in a replicated zero-G state. The water is so buoyant that ALL of the pressure is relieved from your joints and muscles in a really spectacular way. Upon exiting the float center, I always feel like I’ve just received a “touchless” massage. My spine feels longer, everything moves better, and it feels like it would be the same to walk on a cloud.
The third huge benefit of floating to your BJJ recovery is the mental aspect. People have reported a wide array of mental effects during and after floating, including visual and auditory experiences. It’s no wonder; you’re literally shutting off all the external sensory input you would typically be experiencing out in the world. Once you do that and your mind is released from its tethers, it can go to some pretty powerful places if you let it. Coupled with some deep breathing exercises, the meditative state that can be reached is unlike any other. It’s perfect for addressing any competition-related anxiety and fears head-on, as well as breaking down the elements of your gameplan and analyzing movements. Your thoughts can almost play out like a movie with enough practice, so it’s an excellent training tool when used appropriately.
All in all, float therapy is the bee’s knees for BJJ recovery. Invented by Dr John Lilly in the 1950s kept afloat (hurr) by guys like Matt and Ryan of Better Being Float Center here in Indianapolis, floating will no doubt continue to help countless thousands or millions of people for ages to come. And if you’re worried about claustrophobia, don’t be. Once the lights are out and the door is closed, you may as well be floating through space. There’s truly nothing like it.
What was your floatation therapy experience like? How many times have you gone? Did you love it or hate it? WHY??? Stay tuned for the rest of the entries in this series, where we discuss cryotherapy, intense massage techniques, and look for some alternative therapies for BJJ players. Any feedback you’ve got to share, we would love to have it. Let us know what else you want us to discuss, and what other ways we can help!
IF YOU LIVE IN CENTRAL INDIANA, TAKE HEED! The awesome guys from Better Being hooked us up with an exclusive, 1-time promo code for our fans! If you’d like to float with them, simply enter the code “AGAME” when reserving online for $10 off! If you go, share your experience with us in the comments, email, or social media pages!