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Track and Field Athletes’ Experiences and Perceived Effects of Flotation-REST: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


Aim: The aim of this study was to examine junior and first year senior athletes’ experiences and perceived effects of flotation-REST, including both the immediate response and experiences over time.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six elite track and field athletes (five female and one male), aged 17-23 years, who were purposefully sampled and had used flotation-REST two to six times. They were each interviewed on two occasions; once directly following a floating session and later a second interview concerning the overall experience. The interview transcripts were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, 1996).

Results: From the analysis four themes emerged: Meaning of Flotation-REST, Experiences during Flotation-REST, Perceived Effects of Flotation-REST, and Views on Flotation-REST. Flotation-REST became a learning opportunity concerning relaxation for all athletes and three of them reported that it raised their awareness of the importance of relaxation and psychological skills training. For five athletes the floating sessions also became a breather in the daily life. The floating sessions were perceived as pleasant and relaxing. Three athletes experienced a lot of thoughts in the tank and five of them fell asleep at least twice. After flotation-REST five athletes reported experiencing less stress and an overall increase in well-being as well as feeling calmer and more energized for one or two days, although they were physically tired at practice immediately following a floating session. Being in a better mood and placing fewer demands on themselves as well as feeling more optimistic and present were also mentioned as perceived effects. The results showed more and longer-lasting psychological effects than physiological. The sixth athlete did not experience any special effects, nor did he experience stress in his daily life and sport performance, as opposed to the others.

Conclusions: The study shows the potential of flotation-REST as a technique for health promotion and also as a method for stress management. Further, as the results revealed raised awareness, flotation-REST could be valuable together with other psychological skills training techniques, mindfulness and the physical training. However, considering the differences in the athletes’ perceived effects of flotation-REST, it indicates the importance of further research on the topic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
sport psychology, relaxation, health promotion, stress management
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-2218OAI: diva2:516543
Educational program
Magister Education Program in Sport
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-04-27 Created: 2012-04-18 Last updated: 2012-04-27Bibliographically approved

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