The acute effects of flotation restricted environmental stimulation technique on recovery from maximal eccentric exercise

J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Dec;27(12):3467-74. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31828f277e.


Flotation restricted environmental stimulation technique (REST) involves compromising senses of sound, sight, and touch by creating a quiet dark environment. The individual lies supine in a tank of Epsom salt and water heated to roughly skin temperature (34-35° C). This study was performed to determine if a 1-hour flotation REST session would aid in the recovery process after maximal eccentric knee extensions and flexions. Twenty-four untrained male students (23.29 ± 2.1 years, 184.17 ± 6.85 cm, 85.16 ± 11.54 kg) participated in a randomized, repeated measures crossover study. The participants completed 2 exercise and recovery protocols: a 1-hour flotation REST session and a 1-hour seated control (passive recovery). After isometric muscle strength testing, participants were fatigued with eccentric isokinetic muscle contractions (50 repetitions at 60°·s) of the nondominant knee extensors and flexors. Blood lactate, blood glucose, heart rate, OMNI-rating of perceived exertion for resistance exercise (OMNI-RPE), perceived pain, muscle soreness, and isometric strength were collected before exercise, after treatment, and 24 and 48 hours later. A multivariate analysis of covariance found that treatment had a significant main effect on blood lactate, whereas subsequent univariate analyses of variance found statistical significance with the immediate posttreatment blood lactate measures. The results indicate that flotation REST appears to have a significant impact on blood lactate and perceived pain compared with a 1-hour passive recovery session in untrained healthy men. No difference was found between conditions for muscle strength, blood glucose, muscle soreness, heart rate, or OMNI-RPE. Flotation REST may be used for recreational and professional athletes to help reduce blood lactate levels after eccentric exercise.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hydrotherapy / methods*
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Myalgia / blood
  • Myalgia / etiology
  • Myalgia / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Lactic Acid