Floatation Therapy, Float Hub UK, London, Arthritis Pain, Chronic Pain, Arthritis Foodie, Review of Floatation Therapy, Epsom Salts, Salt Bath, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Oesteoarthritis,

Review: Floatation Therapy with Float Hub UK

          Have you ever had a bath in the dark, with no noise, no distractions, endless space and the complete sense of weightlessness both physically and mentally? For a whole hour? Sounds good doesn’t it? Sounds restful too, and it truly is… And it’s a lot better than what I’ve just described, it’s an hour of luxury and ultimate self-care for both the body and the mind.

Last month, FloatHub UK invited me to try Floatation Therapy at their brand-new premium floatation hub in Shoreditch, London, UK (#gifted). I had heard about floatation therapy briefly from some members of the Arthritis Foodie Community, and, as always, I am willing to try any natural remedy to ease my arthritis and pain, to in turn – help all of you to do the same.

I’d taken a look at their website, and done brief research about floatation, the guide FloatHub UK provides is very thorough and gave me a good understanding. In reality, it was so much better. The space is beautifully designed, with a welcoming entrance, private rooms, a powder room and a relaxation room for post-floating. I was guided through the rooms and the processes before starting, and the FloatHub team really ensured that I felt comfortable and at ease.

So, what is a float / floating / floatation therapy?

“With more than 525kg of high-quality epsom salt, you will float effortlessly in the waters of our spacious float pods with no light, sound, or external pressures to refresh your mind and restore your health to new levels.”

Inside the floatation hubs (see photos) your body floats weightlessly supported by a cushion of silky (it really does feel like liquid silk to touch) skin-temperature liquid. There is no sensation of gravity, sight or sound and you are encapsulated in a space that leaves you no option other than to relax. Epsom salt (also known as magnesium sulphate) has been used since the 1600’s and has been established as a natural remedy for a number of ailments. It was discovered in 1618 by farmer Henry Wicker in Epsom, England, when his cows refused to drink the water because of it’s mineral bitter taste. Wicker was the first person in history to experience the healing effects of Epsom salts and began promoting the waters as a medicine.

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My experience (continued):

I’d made sure to have had a light meal before floating (a veggie omelette with avocado on the side) and drank plenty of water (but a good 90 mins before floating I stopped soon as I wouldn’t need the bathroom!) The private room I was given was spacious, warm, and dimly lit like a spa with the floating hub in the middle and a shower, plus towels, makeup wipes, ear plugs, and a place to sit.

Once I had removed my make-up, showered, and inserted the ear plugs (so the water wouldn’t go in my ears) I was ready to go. I missed the sunset and music due to still being in the shower (it started getting darker and darker as I was stood there naked – honestly – my fault completely!) so I quickly turned the lights back on. Some of you may not know, but I am a calamity and fumbling mess sometimes (I open ‘Push’ signed doors as an example), so I couldn’t fathom the machine at first, even though the lovely lady at FloatHub UK had shown me twice… But essentially, you reach inside for the internal buttons to get the lid to start closing, and then I kept it slightly ajar by an inch, just for my own sanity as it would be typical of me to get trapped in there.

Then I stepped into the water (in the nude), and found the water so calming and warm, not too hot and not too cold – just right. And you literally float. It’s amazing! Your whole body feels like you could be in outer space with the darkness, the quiet, and being weightless. It took me some time to wriggle where I fancied and relax and let the water carry me, but once I did – it felt wonderful. It closed my eyes and enjoyed every minute of the stillness. Your body tends to move and flex in odd ways and it feels like you are the liquid itself, totally fluid and floating.

You can float with the lights on if you choose, but I chose to keep it dark. The hour went by so fast, but I honestly felt significantly less pain, and so rested. Read this review by Andrew who has Rheumatoid Arthritis and went recently, he seemed to have the same experience as me – and it helped him.

Afterwards, you shower and wash off the salt, get dressed, then head to the powder room if you need to dry your hair or do your makeup. If not, you go straight to the relaxation room where there is a selection of magazines, and scrumptious herbal teas. So, I sat in there a while, phone-less (there’s no service in there anyway which was great!) and read the magazine Breathe, with an orange and fennel tea.

What are its health benefits, is it medicinal?

There are so many health benefits to a Float, here are some that I gathered from some research and information from FloatHub UK too:

  • Boosted secretion of beta endorphins, which are natural pain inhibitors – same as exercise endorphins – and I got this – I definitely felt in less pain while I was floating.
  • Relaxes the nervous system, people with conditions such as fibromyalgia may find relief.
  • Improves circulation.
  • Lowers heart rate.
  • Increases lactate flush (ridding your body of lactic acid, whilst relieving the muscles).
  • Helps with anxiety, and PTSD.
  • Restores the hormone balance and gets rid of the ‘brain fog’.
  • Pregnant women have had profound reactions, as shutting off all noise and sensory stimulation enables them to feel more connected to their child and lowers back pain too.
  • There are three states of Meditation, state alpha, beta, and theta, theta is the deepest state of meditation (only expert meditators and yogis usually achieve) and has been shown to be achieved in 40 minutes with the help of a sensory deprivation tank (like FloatHub).
  • Scientifically, the body is so relaxed that the brain waves slow down.
  • Navy Seals use float therapy in the curriculum and the US military uses it at scale, as it creates improved focus, creativity and state of “super-learning” from floating – they reduced learning languages from 6 months to 6 weeks.

What is the Float Hub UK Story?

Founder Tom found help in Floats for his own sleep after struggling with sleep apnea and insomnia for a long time. After floating, he ended up feeling far more rested and recovered, more so than the poor-form of rest he was getting from sleep.

He’s now running FloatHub UK to provide this incredible remedy to others. On top of this, he runs a volunteer programme for people who want to Float, but can’t afford it. With the volunteer programme, you simply have to volunteer with one of their charity partners and you can earn free floats. And, free floats to emergency services professionals – which I think is just wonderful.

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Would you like to try FloatHub?

          I’d highly recommend it, but it has to be FloatHub UK – outstanding!

Go to my Instagram page @ArthritisFoodie to enter the competition. FloatHub UK are kindly giving away two floating experiences, one for you and a friend – all you have to do is comment on this post with the friend that you’d take with you, like this post, and follow @floathubuk & @arthritisfoodie. Winners will be announced (xxxx).

@arthitisfoodie

How much does it cost to do a Float?

  • If you are a founding member, one float is just an additional £44 a month.
  • Monthly membership is £50 a month but Founding Membership (still available) is £40 a month, and you get one float a month with this. If you aren’t a member, a single float is £60.
  • If you make referrals as a member, you get credited with a float too.
  • As mentioned earlier, if you work in the emergency services you can float for free, or if you want to volunteer to ern a float, you can.

What’s included in the membership?

  • Partnership with a sleep expert and consultation for members.
  • Free gift card upon sign-up.
  • They will also allow members to choose 90-minute floats at no extra charge, assuming they have availability.
  • Upcoming in the membership: Osteopaths, nutritionists, personal trainers – all of these discounted from selected partners.
  • No minimum term.
  • More info on memberships is here: https://floathub.co.uk/membership/.

The membership is extremely good value if you’re going to be going once, or more than once!

Finally, some tips for your visit:

  • Don’t wear any make up – saves the hassle and time of taking it off. You’re provided with Simple facewipes if you do though, so it’s okay! I just wish I’d not worn any.
  • Bring a hairbrush, I brushed my hair with my hands, as this is something I totally forgot! Didn’t realise that when you float you totally let your hair roam free – it’s lovely.
  • Practise some mindfulness before you go – I really struggled to switch off initially, and it was only in the last 20-30 mins that I think I was in the right zone.
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Chronic Pain & CBD Oil

Can I manage my arthritis pain with CBD Oil? Learn about CBD for Pain Management with some insight from some of the industry’s leading experts.

Chronic pain, is a real pain – that’s a fact, waking up with it, living with it and going to bed with it – there’s the painsomnia too (of course!). It’s constantly there, and only with mental strength can we try to place it out of our minds to get on with our daily life. There’s plenty of pain medications and drugs on the market, and I have tried plenty of them too – from NSAIDs, steroids, co-codamol and arcoxia. With @ArthritisFoodie, I am documenting my tests and trials with natural remedies to ease arthritis pain.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis, with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis being the most diagnosed and well known. With this, there are lots of drugs too. Not much is helping the chronic pain I feel in my ankles each day though. So, one of the remedies I have been most interested to learn about is the power of CBD, formally known as ‘Cannabidiol’. It’s legal in small quantities in the UK (but the THC part of the plant isn’t) and it is one of the fastest growing industries – it’s seen as a ‘miracle plant’ and its popularity is growing like it’s the new ‘avocado on toast’.

So, I was really excited to attend (with a kind someone who has membership there) the talk about CBD at the private member’s club Annabel’s in Mayfair, London. I made some notes during the talk and hopefully this blog will give you some insight into what I learned from the panel.

CBD Oil, Holland and Barrett, Cannabidiol,
I tried CBD Oil from Holland & Barrett, for a month in February 2019, but I wasn’t sure if it was the right strength/product/didn’t understand how it worked.

The discussion: To CBD or not to CBD? That is the Question!

“CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of the key chemical components of cannabis, and is showing a huge promise in the treatment and alleviation of a long list of medical conditions, chronic pain, and skin concerns, but there are still question marks as to whether or not it has any proven health effects.”

Who was on the panel?

Dr Danni Gordon: is a trained and registered medical doctor at Harley Street in London, but she has been practicing in Canada where she treated thousands of patients with CBD, from mental health, to cancer, pain and fatigue. Her goal is to train UK physicians in medical cannabis, and emphasise that cannabis is the most useful herbal tool. She is a Cannabinoid Medicine and Integrative Medicine Specialist too.

Dr Matthew Brown: is a Consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital specialising in pain medicine and anesthetics, with a focus on pain relief for cancer patients. He is interested in the research on pain mechanisms, and how medical cannabis sit within this, as he is on the board of George Botanicals – a leading UK brand in the CBD space.

What is CBD?

CBD is one of the 104 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa, and it is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant that doesn’t make you high, so it’s currently legal in most countries. “CBD lacks the cannabis-like intoxicating properties of THC and, for this reason, has been traditionally considered non-psychoactive”. THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and creates the sensation of getting “high”, which is the part that is considered illegal. In the UK, you can only buy CBD oil that contains a maximum THC content of 0.2%.

Where does CBD come from?

CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the flowers and leaves of a cannabis plant, then diluting it with a transporter oil, such as coconut or hemp seed oil. Hemp Seed Oil is from the seeds of the cannabis plant, and hemp seeds and hemp seed oil have been used for cooking and other purposes for years. It is legal because it does not contain significant amounts of cannabinoids, like CBD and THC.

“Hemp seed oil or cannabis seed oil is high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. It’s great in a smoothie and like many natural oils, is wonderful for skin but contains zero CBD (cannabidiol) and none of the benefits of CBD.” 

Cindy Capobianco, co-founder of Lord Jones.

Does CBD have a history of medicinal use?

It’s great to learn about CBD, but what about medicinal cannabis? Is it the same thing? Well, no, it’s not, as medicinal cannabis does have some THC in, as the THC scientifically enables the CBD to be more effective within the body, it can be prescribed, but it is hard, and the process is long. This is frustrating, as Cannabis has been used for medical purposes across the world for centuries, going as far back as 2900BC, which is exactly 4,918 years ago.

What I was most surprised to learn, is that Queen Victoria used medical cannabis when she was in labour, and it was a very established part of medical practise up until the 1930s in the UK. It fell off in the 1930s, during the prohibition period in America (which the UK mirrored) into being seen and abused as a recreational drug, rather than a drug for health.

What is the current legal status of cannabis in the UK?

Legislation in the UK has recently changed, and now medical cannabis has both TCH and CBD. However, in the NHS in order to prescribe it, it has to be a multi-disciplinary decision. A GP cannot prescribe it, it first has to go to a specialist and then it has to be signed off by the director of the hospital. There is a huge amount of paperwork and the patient has to try all of the other alternatives too. Opioids that cause more harm than cannabis are easier to get hold of than medicinal cannabis. Getting a prescription on private healthcare is a swifter process, but of course, not everybody has the access to this.

Is there proof that it works?

Dr Danni Gordon has many anecdotal “case studies” from her own use of it with patients in Canada that prove it does work – for pain relief, anxiety and so much more. There is exponential growth in research happening, but studying the hemp plant has been illegal.

It’s also hard to test, as there is also a huge array of chemicals within the plant – and there are different strains of it too. For example, you have a study looking at pain – the dose varies, type of pain varies, and type of CBD varies too. However, there are cannabinoid receptors within our bodies that react to it either way, it is something our body natural is accustomed to, more on this in the science section below.

Apparently, it also has anti-acne effects, Danny has had psoriasis patients who have used CBD and TCH creams and it has helped them. I was interested to know this in the case of psoriatic arthritis.

How do you take CBD, what is its best form?

For wellness use – there is the option of oral oil form 5-10mg drops, 2 to 10 times a day. However, you can also find dry herbal ones or vapourisers / vaping oils, with flowers that look like cannabis, but don’t have TCH. You can even buy CBD tea now too!

The best way to get CBD, and to see if it can help, is through a doctor by getting a prescription – as this is CBD and TCH in its proper natural form – without the CBD being extracted. There are a lot of new companies coming out in UK claiming to produce it, but it is always best to go on their website and check who is on their scientific board to be able trust the product. Overall, it is important to do your own research before buying and trying the products. There are plenty of good health shops, such as Holland and Barratt that stock the products.

The panel mentioned that it’s worth noting that if you have low blood pressure you have to be careful. Drug interaction is also a potential if you have epilepsy drugs. Research has also not been done yet either in terms of how it could affect chemotherapy and different types of cancers.

Finally, give it time and try different strengths of it:

“What I find with a lot of chronic pain conditions is because CBD actually interacts with our own cannabis system in our own bodies, called the endocannabinoid system, it doesn’t actually turn pain off directly like a painkiller… it down regulates our perception of pain and the kind of tones of our nervous system… it can help with chronic pain over a period of time, but often it might take weeks or months to see any effect and it doesn’t cure chronic pain, so you have to keep taking it… use a different dose, or a different product or add a tiny bit of THC (legal in Canada).” – Dr Dani.

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You could try some CBD Tea, if the oil drops aren’t for you!

What is the science of the body telling us about CBD?

We have receptors in our bodies for cannabinoids, a specialised system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. CBD with TCH activates the natural cannabinoids in the body called endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your nervous system, reducing inflammation and pain by interacting with neurotransmitters.

Research has been grey, but what we are seeing is a move away from randomised studies to the idea that we can collect data from the real world – functional, mobility, and general wellbeing. We will eventually see a shift of change towards accepting this kind of data, but it needs to be funded for it to be found.

A lot of the industry is being led by entrepreneurs as pharmaceuticals who want to take a strand of the chemical, but you should be taking the whole plant to get the full benefits, as if you don’t have THC the CBD takes longer to work and is less effective.

Future of CBD & the Holistic Approach

When will it be relaxed enough to not have the hurdles, and to be able to be prescribed medicinal cannabis a lot easier? In ten years’, is the prediction from the panel.

Finally, CBD is not a silver bullet solution, and it can only work if everything is in line – good health, exercise, diet, sleep and so on – binding into a whole holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

Extra Tips from the Panel

Anxiety and sleeplessness are common in people with chronic pain. Sleep hygiene is essential – it should be quiet and dark an hour before bedtime, don’t go on your iPad or phone before sleep, not having coffee before bed, try to have the last one before 1pm! I recently listened to a podcast about sleep – link is here.

I also had a chance at the end to approach some of the panel and chat to them about the ways in which I could manage my arthritis pain (and pass these ideas on to through Arthritis Foodie). These were some of the extra suggestions that I am going to go away and try:

  • Magnesium – to take this as a supplement.
  • Menthol – in creams to soothe the pain.
  • Acupuncture – I have had this in my neck before, but not frequently enough to feel any significant difference – and I have never tried it in my ankles before.
  • Pain team at my hospital (St George’s) – to find out who this is and to try and get a referral to help with the management of pain.

In Summary

CBD oil must be given a try in a holistic approach, and you have to do your own analysis as to how it is helping you, as there is no research out there.

It is safe to use and buy from approved places, but if you need the real strength of it, getting hold of medicinal cannabis through your specialist is the best option.

Always look for natural CBD, as some companies water it down with other things! Trial and test more than one. Further reading about CBD oil for chronic pain: on Dr Dani’s site.

I will be trying CBD again, just in the process of researching the best one, so stay tuned!