Floating can have a tremendous impact on recovery and performance, says Brandon Marcello, PhD, a former director of sports performance at Stanford University and high-performance consultant who has worked with professional sports teams like the Atlanta Braves and the San Jose Sharks.
As Marcello explains, floating helps to calm down the sympathetic nervous system, which otherwise releases the stress-inducing hormone cortisol into the body and regulates “fight-or-flight” mode. High levels of cortisol can help inhibit recovery, says Marcello. “Floating can create a cascade of physiological events which can help increase parasympathetic activity and down-regulate the nervous system,” he says.
Marcello says floating can also create a kind of positive feedback loop: when athletes recover faster, they can perform better, too.