My first experience with flotation was about 15 years ago when I discovered Floatworks in London. My friend who had been the week before told me the experience of floating was “like meditating in a cocoon”. My first float definitely did NOT go as she described it! I stupidly decided to wipe my face with my wet hands just after getting in and spent the next hour scratching my face from the salt water. Hardly the zen like state I was anticipating. Disappointed, I decided to book in again the following week and finally found out what all the fuss was about!
Just before moving to Hong Kong I took my husband along to try it. He loved it too. Actually, the first thing he said when I saw him in the waiting room was “I had sooooooo many good ideas whilst in the tank!” Increased creativity is noted as one of the benefits of flotation 🙂 Inspired, we promised that as soon as we arrived in Hong Kong we would book another session.
What? No flotation centre in Hong Kong? But this is a 24 hour city notorious for it’s long working hours and type A’s. We were surprised that nobody had tapped into the huge market of stressed out workaholics! We had to wait 2 years but finally a centre opened and off we went for some much needed relaxation and sensory deprivation.
Float On is situated on Caine Rd. in the Mid-Levels and is conveniently less than a 5 minute walk from the mid-levels elevator. We arrived 15 minutes before our appointment to familiarise ourselves with the equipment and procedures. Angela greeted us and explained how everything worked. Switching the lights off was recommended for the full experience. After repeatedly telling my husband not to touch his face under any circumstances I was happy when she showed us the water spray and wash cloth inside the pod should we get any salt water on our face! She also showed us the ‘noodle’ (a tube shaped float) which you can use behind your neck. I remembered that during the last float my neck had been quite painful so it was nice to have something to use for support. It seemed like they had covered everything to ensure the float was as comfortable and relaxing as possible.
The sensation of floating is not strange, we have all floated on our backs in a swimming pool. What is different about flotation is the experience of being in total darkness, silence and how the concept of time seems to disappear. In our daily life there is never a time when we are aware of our surroundings but cut off from all senses. Even in the middle of the night there is still the static hiss of the baby monitor, the water pipes, the whirring of the air con…….or the sound of the neighbours upstairs pulling out a chair! It makes you realise that we never really experience true silence.
For what felt like about 15 minutes (but who knows?!) my mind jumped from thought to thought. I got into a comfortable position using the neck support and finally managed to let my mind switch off. Focusing on my breathing I sunk into a deep state of relaxation. Before I knew it the music and the light came on inside the pod to signal the end of the session. Wow! It really didn’t feel like I had been in there an hour. I felt calm and like everything had slowed down. Seeing the look on my husbands face when I walked into the waiting room it was obvious he’d had the same experience!
Here’s the science bit……… Benefits of flotation include mood elevation due to increase in dopamine and endorphins, shifting of brain waves from beta to lower frequency alpha and theta, stimulating right/left brain synchronisation and decreasing the production of cortisol and adrenaline.
Flotation is beneficial for everybody. Young, old, inactive, athletes, pregnant women, people with injuries and pain. I can imagine what a huge relief it would feel to a heavily pregnant lady to experience complete weightlessness. The stresses of gravity during pregnancy are huge. I would have slept in the pod every night during my pregnancy given the chance! Forget the pregnancy massage voucher daddy, this is what your wife REALLY wants! 🙂
There is lots of scientific research to back up the benefits of flotation but I didn’t really need to know any of that. Anything that can coax my tight neck and shoulders to relax and hit the mute button on my chattering monkey mind is good in my book.