If the thought of floating in complete darkness in a pod of water with the lid shut makes you feel a little uneasy, you’re not alone. But, after experiencing floatation therapy for the first time last week, it’s safe to say I’m already addicted!
Floatation therapy is said to be one of the most powerful ways to eliminate stress and relieve muscle tension, and sure enough, something as bizarre as floating in a tank of lukewarm water filled with 500kgs of Epsom salts has been the talk of the office for months.
For the sake of a good story, I thought I’d deprive my senses for an hour and give this floating thing a go. Even if I am a little scared of the dark.
Once I committed to trying flotation therapy, I had a million questions I wanted to ask. Would I get claustrophobic? Will my hands and feet prune up like they do in the pool? How will I feel after?
I avoided reading any internet reviews as I wanted to go in without too many preconceived ideas about what would happen to me during my float. However, after the whispers of my float circulated around the office ahead of my visit, everyone was quick to tell me how I would feel and what I should do. After hearing a few mixed reviews, I was eager to try it for myself, but can’t deny I had a few nerves.
SO WHY FLOAT?
Floatation therapy, also known as sensory deprivation, has been around for over fifty years. It has been researched worldwide and scientifically proven to bring about incredible healing benefits, both physically and mentally. It is believed that just one hour of floating is equivalent to four hours of deep sleep. The highly dense Epsom salt solution allows you to become completely buoyant and when the weight is literally taken off your body in the absence of gravity, you’re essentially weightless. This experience is said to help realign the body and can even provide relief to people suffering from inflammatory disorders and chronic pain. As well as the physical benefits, the magnesium and sulphate absorbed through the skin have many amazing benefits that relax and detoxify the body, as well as improving your mental well-being. The endorphins released after absorbing magnesium can leave many feeling completely euphoric after their float. This is what many refer to as the post-float glow.
THE BLISS FLOAT EXPERIENCE
From the minute I stepped through the door at Bliss Float in Bulimba, it felt as if I was moving ten times faster than anyone else in the room. I started to rethink that second coffee I had at 10am.
I was warmly greeted by Amy, the owner of Brisbane's first Bliss Float and was led to the relaxation room with a cup of warm herbal tea. My body isn’t used to slowing down at midday on a Friday, so it took me about ten minutes to wind down from the office chaos ahead of my float.
From here, Amy told me a little bit about the Dreamy Pod I would be spending the next hour in and what I needed to do before and after the float. She showed me that there is no way the pod could seal or stay shut and with as little as a tap, the lid would easily open. She also explained that I could adjust my sensory deprivation experience depending on how comfortable I felt within the pod. This meant that if I was a little nervous, I could leave the lid of the pod open with the coloured lights on for as long as I wanted before going ahead with the full sensory deprivation experience of complete darkness. It was completely up to me.
I was shown to my room and left to have a quick, lukewarm rinse off in the shower before hopping into flotation pod completely nude.
Once I closed the lid, soft oriental music played inside the pod for the first ten minutes and would play again for the last five minutes of the session to let me know the float was ending.
When I first laid down, I was surprised how easy it was to float. I was told I could use a thin, foamy head support that helped to keep my head afloat, but I ditched it within two minutes. I’m not going to lie, the first 20 minutes of the float I spent moving around the pod, turning onto my stomach and obsessing over how slimy my legs felt from the Epsom salts. I accidentally got some of the water in my mouth and my eye, which I’d like to think is a right of passage for a first-time floater. Luckily, the team at Bliss Float have thought of everything and had a spray bottle filled with fresh water hanging on the inside of the pod so I could spray the salty water off.
Once I began to settle and relax, it was now a head game to allow myself to turn off the lights. How dark would it be if I turned them off? How quickly will they turn back on? What if they don’t come back on or I can’t find the lights button again? I spent what felt like an eternity, with my eyes tightly shut to get them used to the darkness before finally switching off the lights. This was harder than I thought, but after turning the lights on and off a couple of times, I found the courage to leave them off. I held onto the light button for about ten minutes as I felt like letting go would completely deprive me of my bearings of the pod. I eventually let go and drifted into a deep relaxation. It’s quite a bizarre experience to explain, as I wasn’t exactly asleep but I had lost complete awareness of my body. It truly was the most relaxing feeling I’d ever experienced.
Before I knew it, the soft music was playing again, it was time to turn the lights back on and they were much brighter than I remembered.
After I slowly stepped out of the pod, I showered the Epsom salt solution off and thoroughly washed my hair and removed my earplugs. While showering, I couldn’t help but smile. It was the euphoric feeling that everyone had talked about and it was actually happening.
After my float, I was led back to the relaxation room and it felt as if I was floating on a cloud. I chatted to Amy about my experience and we discussed how this method of relaxation can only get better with practice, just like meditation.
I’m addicted! As someone who is always on the go, constantly connected to the internet and dreams of writing about (and eating) food in her sleep, this is just the kind thing I needed to reset and relax.
If you are someone who finds themselves overthinking, overworking, can’t disconnect from technology or just looking for a moment to yourself, I couldn’t recommend floatation therapy high enough.
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