My Floating Point Experience
A colleague of mine had been talking about how blissful her regular 'float' experience was and as I am always looking for ways to improve my health I wanted to try it!
There aren't too many floatation centres around (hopefully that will change) but there is one close to where I work in Pangbourne, Reading (UK) called Floating Point so I booked in. The co-founder and facilitator Michael Cordova is a wealth of knowledge on floating and the wider field known as 'bio-hacking' and I get the feeling he could talk all day about the things that motivate him.
For anyone nervous about how it works, don't be. You get your own room with your own shower and own pod, plus you have plenty of time to get in, and also to get showered afterwards. The Centre is small, clean and cosy with some lovely touches adding to the atmosphere. After your float there are some lovely Faith in Nature products in the shower for you to use, an area to dry your hair, and then you can sit and rest in the quiet room afterwards with a warm cup of tea surrounded by some brilliant books Michael has lying around. For answers to commonly asked questions about floatation check out the FAQs page from Floating Point.
Can you relax?
After you've stripped down and showered (so as to not contaminate the water) you step into the warm tank of 1000 litres of water and around 1/2 a tonne of high grade Epsom salt. This amount of salt saturates the water to a similar environment as that of the Dead Sea. When water is this 'heavy' with such a high concentration of salts in the water, it becomes more dense than our bodies which pushes us upwards and keeps us buoyant.
Michael explains that they measure the gravity of the tanks each week because density can change with changes in water temperature. Both the tanks and the rooms are kept at specific temperatures (35.5C) to match our skin which means that you actually can't feel whether you're in or out of the water, which obviously works best if you have no clothing on at all. This combined with the soundproof, lightproof pods and some earplugs means that you are effectively deprived of all of your senses, making it easy to achieve a very deep state of relaxation. If you're nervous about feeling claustrophobic, don't worry, you can keep the lid of the pod open!
You can also choose to listen to some relaxing music either just at the start or end of your session, or all the way through. I find this really helps to get me to zone out. Also recommended is to focus on your breath, noticing when you breath in and out and how that feels. This is the very basics of meditation, so even if you've never meditated before you can do this. You should never worry about how busy your mind is, just think the thoughts and then let them go and you'll do fine. I feel like I've been getting better at floating (haha) each time because I know what to expect and can relax quicker, however it still depends on how I'm feeling that day and how easy it is to let go.
Being this relaxed for an hour (or longer if you want) immersed in mineral salts can have some extraordinary effects. Check out the Floating Point website for a list of some of the benefits experienced through floating, and also for some of the science and research building up behind floating.
It definitely allows you to relax (once you've tested the theory that you can completely let your body go and you WILL NOT sink!), and I know this because I like to measure things! If you follow my Boost & Balance facebook blog you'll know that I have an Oura ring which can measure heart rate, and ultimately the lower your resting heart rate the more efficient your heart function and better your cardiovascular fitness - which is all good right? The Oura ring allows me to keep tabs on my resting heart rate and you can see here for my first float back in September my body sensed it was 'at rest' for 54 minutes and my heart rate dropped to 57 bpm!!
If you're interested in the Oura ring, Michael has been kind enough to let us use his discount code, so just enter floatingpoint when ordering.
As with everything, everyone is different, so all I can do is recommend that you try it! Go to the Floating Point booking page to book and if you have any questions you can comment below, contact me or Michael at the centre.