Ever find your hormones cause your mood to crash and your brain to fog up? If you feel like you need to re-balance your mind and body, a dip in a floatation tank could do it. This week, PP booked in for an hour of weightless bathing at Floatworks to see if water pods were the place to find peace and tranquility.
What’s the hype?
It’s just a warm bath, right? Wrong. The practice of floating is basically lying belly-up, completely naked in water that’s packed so full of Epsom salt that you're totally weightless. It aims to reduce activity in the ‘fight or flight’ part of the brain which, in turn, claims to reduce blood pressure, stress levels, anxiety, aches and pains and assist with mental disorders and insomnia. With many wellness gurus and even a neuropsychologist recently raving about its effects, it was time to give it a try.
The PP experience:
If you’re anything like me, at certain points during your cycle, your moods are about as unpredictable as the Love Island villa. One minute they’re all warm and fuzzy, then next they’re cold and sad and need to re-couple with another human body please.
To combat these crappy feelings, I usually play netball or do a bit of yoga, but sometimes I just CBA. So when I heard I could potentially rid my brain of whirring anxieties and restore some sort of calm by floating butt-naked in a bath, I was totally sold.
Floatworks welcomed me with an introductory chat, a health form and a tour of the room I was going to get starkers in (you can wear a swimming cozzie or a bikini if you fancy it, I just love feeling like a naked baby). First of all, let me just say, it smelt lush: of incense and lavender and aromatherapy loveliness.
Inside my private little sanctuary was a shower, some fluffy towels and a large egg-shaped pod that looked like it had come straight from the set of a sci-fi movie. The salty water half filled the tub and looked seriously welcoming as it glittered with blue light. I stripped off, showered then lay face up, bobbing about in the pool allowing my body to create the shape that felt most comfortable (a starfish, FYI). The water had been perfectly heated to match my body temperature so I could barely even tell I was in water at all.
For the first 10 minutes, the pod played soft plinky-plonky piano music to get me in the mood. The instructions suggested I switch off the light as soon as possible to achieve a deeper mindfulness too, but being the child that I am I was too scared to combine the already alien feeling of floating with actual darkness, so I closed my eyes and let the deep blue light shine through my eyelids.
It was weird, I felt so heavy but kind of free. At first I couldn’t get my head around the fact that there was nothing to support my neck, but once I focused on each part of my body and really worked hard to release all the tension I found a happy place. For about 15 minutes. As time ticked by I realised I was comfy, sure, but struggling to clear my mind. Maybe it was the fact it wasn’t totally dark, but if I wasn’t thinking about what I was going to cook for tea, I was pondering stratospheric questions about the solar system and WTF was outside it. At one point I realised I had been asleep for who knows how long (probs about 5 mins but you lose all sense of time) and tbh, by the end I was just a bit bored.
The music came sailing back through the speakers marking the last 10 minutes, at which point I decided to get out and have a really nice, long shower instead. I felt relaxed but actually pretty groggy and dehydrated. The cynic in me said it was pointless, the hippie in me thought it was probably my fault for not trying hard enough.
Once dressed I was directed up to the ‘chill out’ room. This, weirdly, was the bit that surprised me the most. After that sleepy, groggy feeling had lifted I felt so, so refreshed! Half an hour and a few cups of ice water later I sat back on a bean bag and flicked through the visitor's book. Reading how it had helped people ease aches and pains after intensive treatment and revitalised their spirit filled me with encouragement – I even wrote a little message of my own. I left with a beaming smile on my face feeling super-relaxed and thought actually, I’d do that all over again – only next time, I’d brave the dark...
That initial moment of completely letting your body go and trusting the water to hold you up was pretty cool. I can’t think of one person who wouldn’t enjoy floating around naked not having to worry about treading water (or sharks).
Worth a mention:
If you’re on your period when you go, make sure you pop a tampon or a moon cup in – just treat it as if you’re going swimming. Also, if you’re claustrophobic like me, don’t worry! You can float with the lid open and the light on.
3/5 - If meditation is your thang, you're probably going to love it but annoyingly my brain needs more practice.
Book your floatation tank experience at the UK's leading float centre here! Prices start at £33 per hour as part of a special offer.
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