Imagine spending an hour where the outside world is gone. No light, sound or gravity.
With a claim that bold and brazen, I simply had to try. I’d heard about the concept of floating, but had little knowledge outside of that and I certainly wasn’t sure of its benefits or if it was worth all of the hype it’s been receiving both on and offline.
On the day of the experience it occurred to me how little I knew about what I was about to put myself through, no matter said the voice inside my head, if it’s bad at least you’ll have some kind of hilarious antidote to use at parties. (Not that I go to many parties these days mind - have you seen this nana? But that’s a conversation for another day, and hey the voice inside likes to believe what she does, so I’ll let her have that one).
I was greeted by an incredibly friendly and calming man who I believe was one of the owners of Sensom. If floating makes me that calm where the heck do I sign? We run through all the obligatory instructions and after popping everything in a locker, bye bye phone and images of floating selfies ( field research obvy ;) ), it's time to meet the floaty pod.
I have to admit, at this point, I’m a little nervous. The pods look like something out of alien and I’m unsure if I’ve accidentally joined some kind of cult when I signed the health and safety disclaimer. The gentle and calm man senses my hesitation and begins explaining about the nuts and the bolts of the pod. There’s over 500kg of Epsom salts in the water...that’s one storm of magnesium sulphate right there. Your body is completely suspended and supported by the salts. Thoughts of reaching enlightenment by pod enter my mind and I chuckle to myself at the thought of enlightenment and my dry British sarcasm. Oh Frou, stop.
Floating allegedly increases dopamine and endorphin levels elevating mood and leaving you with a feeling of calmness for days. (Ahhh the calming man). Deep relaxation is aided without the stimulus of light and sound.
Umm, hold up.
It occurs to me that I’m not a massive fan of all things pitch black or night, and it suddenly hits me that I’m about to spend an hour in a tank in the dark on my own, alone with nothing but my own thoughts for company. Remind me again, why did I think this was such a good idea?!
Once I’m left on my own, I’m told to strip off and shower before getting into the pod. I kind of half expected to wear my bathers but alas when in Rome as they say (and apparently the Roman’s like to bathe naked in floating Epsom water these days don’t you know!)
I climb into the pod, the water is warm but not hot, cool but not cold. As I pull down the hatch I think to myself, “Goodbye world” and then I think, “when did I become so melodramatic?!”
I try to shuffle into place (imagine awkward English girl trying to lie flat whilst still holding onto one side of the pod. It was real cute.
At this point there is low level lighting flipping from purples to green to blue and yellow. There’s also the sound of bells coming in and out which make me think of a Tibetan monastery rather than lying in a pod in Newcastle, NSW. I close my eyes. So it’s just me and the pod. I’m at one with the pod. Opens one eye. What next? Am I meant to just lie here for an hour? God that feels like forever.
I spend the next little while mustering the courage to turn the lights out, each time lasting a little longer than the last. The music has long gone at this point and I'm outwardly talking to myself. In the end, I settle for lights on and trying to do some deep breathing.
Eventually this internal chatter box did find some inner calm and zen moments which I’d probably associate with my mindless thoughts eventually even boring themselves to slow down.
There have currently been about 80+ studies on Floatation therapy with published results showing reduction of both pain and stress. It is recommended to float three to five times to initially understand the process of floatation and begin to reap its long-term advantages. The benefits are cumulative, which explains why floatation devotees incorporate this therapy into their everyday lives.
Flotation is great for those who are comfortable with a journey within, for those who feel more comfortable with more external stimulus it could feel more challenging then relaxing but then you might suggest that those would be the ones most in need of some precious inward time.
Apparently the more you float, the more you’re able to access deeper states of relaxation, meditation, creative insights, and to problem solve faster and more efficiently.
So it’s definitely something I’d recommend you to experience but will I be booking a weekly session to explore? I’d definitely go again to test the waters (all the puns intended...not funny English girl) but I’m certainly not in any hurry to sign up to a pack of 10.
It was a great experience, Sensom were wonderful and I took some valuable personal insight from my time in the pod.
Until next time, floaty namaste.
Hugs, Froubie xo