Track and field athletes’ experiences and perceived effects of flotation-REST. An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Ellinor Klockare *, Henrik Gustafsson *, Paul Davis ** and Carolina Lundqvist ***

(*) Faculty of Health, Science and Technology, Karlstad University, Sweden
(**) Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, UK
(***) The Research Unit for Movement, Health and Environment, The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Sweden

Citation

Klockare, E., Gustafsson, H., Davis, P., Lundqvist, C. (2015). Track and field athletes’ experiences and perceived effects of flotation-REST. An interpretative phenomenological analysis. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46(5), 409-428. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2015.46.409

Abstract

Research has highlighted flotation-REST as a promising method for relaxation and performance enhancement in sport; however, to further evaluate the use of flotation-REST in an athletic environment, additional research is warranted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six elite track and field athletes about their experiences and perceived effects of flotation-REST. Athletes were interviewed twice; once for their immediate response and again to explore their perceptions of flotation-REST over time. The data was analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Flotation-REST was perceived as pleasant and relaxing. Five athletes reported less stress and an overall increase in well-being for one or two days afterwards, although they felt physically tired during training sessions. Being in a better mood, placing fewer demands on themselves, and feeling more optimistic and present were also perceived effects. This study shows the potential of flotation-REST as a technique for health promotion, stress management, and a means to practise mindfulness.

Keywords: Health promotion, Relaxation, Sport psychology, Stress management


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