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Broncos winger Corey Oates returns on the wing in Round 7.

Imagine lying in a lightless, soundproof tank filled with salt water that makes you float – sounds strange, right? 

Well for Brisbane Bronco Corey Oates this is the secret behind his recent return to form. 

Flotation therapy is a form of alternative medicine with the high contents of Epsom salt in the tank suspending the user on top of the water, resulting in a feeling of ultimate relaxation. 

Used by athletes such as Manchester United star Wayne Rooney and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the method of recovery aids in recuperation, rehabilitation and neuromuscular programming. Physically, floating reduces muscle pain, muscle tension, blood pressure and inflammation. 

This is perhaps the biggest advantage for Oates who has had his fair share of injuries, resulting in nine surgeries on various joints in his short rugby league career. 

Those physical scars have taken a mental toll on Oates who told the therapy had been helping that aspect of his body as well. 

"I feel really relaxed with it all," Oates said.  

"People take different things out of it. For some people it helps your body out a lot and for others it's more about the relaxation. 

"It clears your mind. I really enjoy it. 

"I had one on Tuesday actually. It does make my body feel a lot better. 

"It's an hour float. My mate got me onto it. You can sleep or lie there and think about a few things. 

"I like to close my eyes and try and drift off. You wake up so relaxed and your mind is free of a lot of things."

‌It's a handy tool to use for professional athletes who face extreme pressure to perform in front of a large audience. 

Even the Australian Institute of Sport uses the flotation tanks for their athletes, with Olympians and future stars all utilising the perceived benefits to perform at their best. 

Despite its advantages, Oates has a warning for those wanting to give it a try – it takes some getting used to.  

"The first time I did it I found it so weird. It just feels different," he said. 

"The second time I went it was better and then on Tuesday it was the best one I had. I slept the whole hour. 

"Honestly I woke up and I was so relaxed. I forgot where I was. I really felt something came out of that one. 

"They say the more you do it, the better it is, and I'll be going back as much as I possibly can."

Fresh off a one-week break due to last week's Representative Round, Oates is prepped and ready for a big game against the Manly Sea Eagles in game two of Saturday night's NRL double-header at Suncorp Stadium. 

For him, this week off accompanied with the flotation therapy is the perfect preparation heading into the State of Origin period. 

"The week off is always good because it does refresh your body," he said. 

"As much as the boys love their week with the Test squads, I do find the week off really enjoyable."  


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