The effects of flotation-restricted environmental stimulation therapy on post-exercise recovery in trained athletes
Broderick, V. L. (2020). The effects of flotation-restricted environmental stimulation therapy on post-exercise recovery in trained athletes (Thesis, Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance (MHSHP)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13557
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13557
Flotation-restricted environmental stimulation therapy (FLOAT) is a method of sensory deprivation and a relaxation technique that has proven to benefit individuals suffering from various health disorders. The objective of this thesis was to first review the literature surrounding FLOAT and to assess the proposed benefits to physiology, psychology, creativity and learning, sleep, psychomotor performance, mental health and physical performance. Through evaluating the literature in combination with the proposed theoretical mechanisms of FLOAT, gaps in the existing research were identified, specifically, the effects of FLOAT on post-exercise recovery in trained athletes. Following the review of literature, this thesis included an original research study to investigate the effects of FLOAT on post-exercise recovery, evaluating hormonal responses, sleep, and next day physical performance measures in athletes. Nineteen trained, male team-sport athletes completed two trials separated by seven days; FLOAT, which included 60 minutes of FLOAT recovery following exercise, and CON, which included 60 minutes of passive recovery following exercise. The exercise consisted of the basketball exercise simulation test (BEST), an exercise consisting of various movements (walking, jogging, sprinting, jumping, shuffling). Performance and pressure-to-pain algometer measures were taken pre and post exercise and the following morning. Performance measures included an isometric mid-thigh pull, a countermovement jump, a 15 m sprint, and a repeated-sprint test. Perceived measures of muscle soreness and physical fatigue 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. The results showed that compared to CON, FLOAT significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced countermovement jump, 10 m sprint, and 15 m sprint performance, with small to moderate effects for all performance measures excluding the countermovement jump (unclear). The results also showed significantly higher pressure-to-pain thresholds across all muscle sites, and lower muscle soreness and physical fatigue following FLOAT. All sleep measures resulted in small to moderate effects, with a significantly greater perceived sleep quality for the FLOAT trial compared to CON. In conclusion, FLOAT may prove to be a beneficial post-exercise recovery technique that positively influences sleep, physical fatigue, muscle soreness and performance.
The University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses