By now you have probably heard the hype about floatation therapy. All the kids are doing it and raving about how it’s wonderful for your mind and body. Being the curious and open-minded person that I am I embarked on a journey to find out more. My first impression was that ‘floating’ is just jumping into a salty bath and that I would come out with super powers. Then I was lucky enough to meet the beautiful married couple who own the newly opened Pure Zen Floatation rooms in Phillip. Stacey, the owner, told me how she was recommended to try a float for some medical reasons and the results were so outstanding for her that her and her husband decided to sell their previous business and open a studio to share floating with everyone. Their passionate story and the intrigue to try this out had me hooked and I booked my partner and I in immediately.
Showing up to our appointment, we were given a tablet with an informative video on what to expect, what to do and how to enjoy the float. We didn’t know if we liked the idea of being referred to as a ‘floater’ but I’ve been called worse. Now armed with more knowledge, I knew this wasn’t going to be just a bath but that I would be in a sensory deprivation tank. Immediate visions of The Simpsons episode when Homer and Lisa both experience a sensory deprivation tank came to mind. Would I feel a deep sense of relation and enlightenment or spend the whole time signing and dreaming of bacon sandwiches?
They took us to the rooms, each with the cocoon-like pod which is filled with body temperature water and loads of epsom salts that make the water more buoyant than the Dead Sea. Inside the pod are some disco or, as they called them, chakra lights. At the start and end of the session relaxing music will be played into the pod. They give you comfortable ear plugs to block out noise when the music stops. You shower before to keep it hygienic then you pop your naked body into the pod and close the lid. The lights and music play for a while then they stop. You can leave the lights on but that’s not making the most of the experience. Then you float, in silence and darkness.
First, I rested. It was warm and comfortable. I could barely tell where my skin ended and the water began. I tried my hardest to not think about anything outside of my pod. I thought about my breathing and I just felt relaxed. It was very nice and it gave me a good sense of my body. Where is was, what it felt like, what it wanted. My brain was communicating with my body. Total bliss. Then I must admit I got fidgety. I began to swoosh in the water. Swooshing my arms and legs, then my torso. Pretended to be a snake then a turtle. That was fun then my body wanted to stretch and I did. Stretching and flexing all my muscles. Shortly after my swooshing the music began again which cued my time was nearly up. I hopped out and after a quick panic about the lights not coming on in the room (being wet and naked in a dark public place wasn’t great) I headed back to the shower to wash off the salt. I changed and headed over to the chill out lounge where I found my partner Eli with a warm herbal tea for me. We discussed our experiences. He too got restless after a while and sat up with the light on inside the pod to play with the water. As I reclined and sipped my tea I checked in with my body again. I was feeling relaxed but energised. It was a wonderful feeling. Did I come out with a super power? No. Did my mental and physical aches and pains feel relieved? Yes. Would I do it again. I certainly will. I feel this is like meditation. At first you don’t know what you are doing and you either fall asleep or you start planning dinner but if you practice you start getting the huge benefits. I think for me, floating will be the same. I feel the more I do it the more I will gain from it.
Why is floating good? What can it do for me? Well as it turns out, all kinds of things. It is excellent to reduce anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours. It can enhance your creativity and focus. Relaxation, meditation, reducing stress. It’s even good for injury recovery and pain relief. Top athletes are even into floating.