I am guilty of being far from relaxed most times. It’s understandable, I have a toddler, I’m nearly 9 months pregnant and feel the weight under general pressures and responsibilities that life brings.
Common relaxation methods just end up exhausting me or exasperating the situation. Things like watching TV, internet or my smartphone that tends to be super glued to my hand during my waking hours.
What other ways are there to relax? Really turn off from the outside world and all the hustle and distractions that surround me constantly? And would they even work for me?
When an email landed in my mailbox inviting me in early December to a brand new therapy facility in Milton Keynes called floatation.life my curiosity was tickled. Floatation therapy? On initial thoughts it sounded right up my street (you all know about my bath and water obsessions).
So, who is this new company floatation.life And more importantly, what is floatation therapy?
Their website explains floatation therapy as:
“Quite simply, it is a way of reaching a truly relaxed state of mind with minimum effort whilst, literally, floating in a 10-inch deep solution of skin temperature water containing a 25% solution of Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulphate). That’s more buoyant than the Dead Sea!”
“By floating in water there are no pressure points on your body and you have a feeling of being, almost, gravity free, (80% to be precise). This, combined with the Epsom salts, can leave you with a feeling of needing to be poured back into your shoes at the end of a float. It can be that profound.”
Okay, I thought. What’s the worst that can happen? I investigated it a bit further and found that floatation is safe after the second and third trimester of pregnancy and can be extra beneficial for aching pregnancy joints that are feeling the strain of the added weight they are carrying around. As someone who has been suffering with sore hips, lower back and neck I thought, PERFECT!
When I arrived at the floatation.life centre in Crownhill I was welcomed by the owner Phil and invited to take a seat in the pre-float area.
First order of business which felt alien to me was giving my phone in. It’s crazy how much I, like many others are attached to their phones and almost use them as a security blanket, but I do understand that having one means I am never truly relaxing my mind. My phone was taken and put in a security locker until after the therapy was finished. EEK!
I filled out a basic medical questionnaire and then put my feet up and enjoyed fifteen or twenty minutes of the pre-float. The pre-float, I’m told is an essential start to the floatation therapy. Arriving in a rush, maybe from work or from a hectic schedule and jumping straight into the float is going to make it hard to relax, so just giving yourself a little bit of time to enjoy a massage chair and put on some headphones, listen to some soothing music and starting the process of switching off is extremely beneficial. For the first few minutes I felt naked without my phone and a bit silly listening to the relaxation music but after five minutes I had lost myself. I shut my eyes and zoned out completely as I was surprised to catch a glimpse of a clock when it was time to go to the floatation suite.
I was shown into my private floatation room. Inside is the floatation tank, a shower area and changing area. It was very clean and welcoming. The air inside the room is maintained at body temperature, just like the water inside the tank is to ensure everything is perfectly balanced to relax you.
First of all I took a hot shower, even that shower alone without having a toddler screaming for my attention was a welcome change. I put in the provided ear plugs as I was told that Epsom salt water inside your ears is not a great feeling and when you are laid back in the tank your ears will be submerged.
Then I carefully stepped into the floatation tank, got on my knees and pulled the door shut.
Inside the tank was low lighting controlled by a couple of switches by the door, enabling me to turn off any distractions and just relax in the darkness. I got myself comfortably sat in the 10-inches of thick feeling water and started to lay myself back into it.
It was extremely easy to lay down in the water, music was playing softly inside the tank too which helped put me at ease.
After what I think was 5-10 minutes the music faded out and the main room lights went out. I just was left to lay and float. That’s it!
An hour passed very easily, I’m not sure if I fell asleep, or just zoned out but I really did enjoy the floatation experience. Whilst floating it was impossible to feel whether I was floating vertically, horizontally, neither did it matter, it was just tranquil.
Towards the end of the float the music softly comes back on and stirs you back into the ‘real’ world. I emerged from the tank as if I had just been hypnotised and was extremely relaxed.
I took a shower and took my time getting dressed and visited the room outside the floatation room which was equipped with hair driers and beauty products.
After that I went into the post-float room, grabbed a bottle of water and laid back on a massage chair and enjoyed some further ‘me’ time. In the post-float room is colouring books, relaxing images on a TV and soft lighting. When I felt alert and ready enough to think about leaving, I went back to reception to collect my phone.
Would I float again? Yes, in a heartbeat. Where else is a place or a time where you can relax on your own with absolutely no distractions or interference?
Yes, it’s different but maybe that’s a good thing.