At the end of last year I started writing a list of goals I wanted to achieve in 2017.
There were some big goals (like run the Boston Marathon) and some smaller goals, which basically meant writing what experiences I wanted and then making them happen.
Last week I crossed off three:
• Legoland Windsor – I visited with my mum, husband and five-year-old son
• Read Find Your Way by Diana Nyad
• Floatation tank
It might surprise you to learn that having a float tank experience was on last year’s list too, but the nearest facility when we were in New Zealand was three hours away.
Here in the UK the nearest is The Floating Spa in Birmingham – an hour on the train.
So what is a floatation tank?
I’ve taken this from The Floating Spa’s site:
You float in a buoyant solution of salt rich water, provided by creating a super saturated mixture of Epsom salt and water.
The salt-water solution is heated to skin temperature (35.5°C), and once you are settled, it is almost impossible to tell which parts of your body are in the water and which aren’t. Eventually you achieve the sensation that you’re floating in mid air!
This is all done within the revolutionary i-sopod float tank. You are in complete control of your own experience, choosing the lighting conditions and whether to close the tank door or not.
With ear plugs in and (if you choose) the tank’s interior lights switched off, the lack of external influences will allow your mind to drift into a deep state of relaxation.
Floatation removes external stimuli from the body, allowing you to enter deeper states of relaxation and stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain, decreasing the perception of pain.
The benefits of floatation are not only quite astounding but also wide ranging. Some are immediate during your float, some may be more noticeable after the actual floatation session, and others may require a cumulative effect to really see and feel the difference.
So last Friday my husband and I arrived at The Floating Spa for our first session.
We spent ages talking with Nav about what we might expect, the facility, how we could hang out for as long as we liked afterwards.
We filled in a form and then had a look at the treatment rooms. There are two tanks, each has its own room. Also in the room – which has no main light source, is a changing area and a shower – there are motion sensors which turn on dim lights so you can see enough.
Nav left us to get ourselves sorted. Before you float you have a shower to rinse yourself off, then climb into the tank ready for the experience to start.
From the reception he controls the pod – you start with 10 minutes of music, this comes on again five minutes from the end. Everything else is up to you – whether you have the tank lid open or closed, and whether you have lights on inside or not.
The initial light is a violet, but there’s also a rainbow series, which you trigger by touching the light button. First it turns off, then you hit it again to trigger the rainbow.
I didn’t get that far. I decided I may as well try the complete sensory deprivation, knowing that I could turn the light on or open the lid if I needed to.
Floating is bizarre. The water isn’t very deep and yet after a while I really couldn’t tell what part of my body was in the water and what wasn’t.
I felt warm at all times, my skin was silky smooth, I was feeling relaxed.
At times my brain was ticking over, at others I was at peace, in a state of meditation.
My body felt heavy – I tried to scratch my cheek and my finger couldn’t find the spot as quickly as pre-float.
We were in our pods for about 1hr 15 minutes, but it certainly didn’t feel that long. No sooner had I felt completely relaxed – including my neck which is renowned for not relaxing quite so easily – than the music turned back on.
I showered and washed my hair – there’s half a tonne of salt in the pod and I didn’t want my hair to feel too dry afterwards. And then we chilled out in the lounge until we needed to get back on the train.
I felt tired the rest of the day, like my body and mind was still recharging. I had an amazing sleep that night and the next day I went to parkrun and achieved a new personal best by 30 seconds – not insignificant.
Would I float again? Yes.
Is it for everyone? Maybe not.
You have to have an open mind. To get the most of it you need to be completely in the dark – lid down, lights off. If you think you’ll feel claustrophobic then try it with the lights on or the lid open, but it won’t feel the same.
Here’s a link to what benefits there are from floating.
I am definitely keen to explore what other benefits I might experience.
I would love to hear from you – have you floated before? Do you want to try it?