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Float therapy helping veterans with PTSD

AUSTIN, Texas (WKRC) -- Nearly 20 percent of veterans who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Some have found help with an alternative treatment called "float therapy."  Army veteran Cody Austell grew up on Fort Hood, the son of a Blackhawk chopper pilot.  He joined the infantry in 2007.  But after he came home from a 16 month deployment in Iraq his life took an unexpected turn. 
 
Cody said, "I felt like no one really had any answers for me.  I was diagnosed with PTSD and here recently I was diagnosed with chronic PTSD."

The young vet pulled away from friends and family, "I would just disappear for months at a time.  My friends used to say I was like a ghost," Cody explained.

At one point he had prescriptions for more than a dozen anxiety and depression medications.  Over the last three years doctors put Cody on several different medications.  Then Cody's brother encouraged him to try an alternative treatment called "float therapy." 

The Zero Gravity Institute in Austin, Texas specializes in sensory deprivation tanks.

Kevin Johnson with the Zero Gravity Institute said, "You're lying down in about 12 inches of water.  Its got 1200 pounds of Epsom salt dissolved in the water so you're very buoyant, you're gonna float right on top of the water."

"When I come into here I literally just, it allows me to not be distracted by everything else around me and purely focus on what's going on with me," Cody said of the experience.  "I came in here and I did my first float and it was very amazing to me. I was able to put in line 3 years' worth of stuff that was trapped in my head in pretty much an hour session." 

Cody wasn't alone.  The Zero Gravity Institute sees a lot of veterans and many suffering from PTSD and hyper-vigilance. While Cody's VA doctors wouldn't say the float tank was a cure-all, they have seen improvements. 

"I'm more inclined to learn.  I'm more inclined to be in a positive mood.  It's really something amazing that they have going on here," Cody said.

CLICK HERE for more information on "float therapy."



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