There’s a wellness concept that makes all those stresses float away – literally. Floatation therapy is floating in water with such a high salt content that you can bob about on the surface, perfectly weightless. This suspension of gravity allows muscles, joints and the central nervous system to reach a state of intense relaxation. It’s the reason the Dead Sea has been a healing hotspot for centuries.
Floatworks brings high-tech and hygienic floatation pods to studios in Vauxhall and Angel. As the UK’s leading floatation therapy centre, they have perfected the floating experience, with sound-insulated private rooms and spacious pods filled with warm water and copious amounts of Epsom salt.
Culture Whisper went to try out the floating experience. Unsure what to expect, we were pleased to find a luxurious and thoughtful welcome area at the Angel studio, complete with a live moss wall, free herbal teas and friendly ‘Float Guides’ to prepare you for the session.
Then we were led to a private room fitted with a shower and our own personal pod, which looks fabulously futuristic. First-time floaters will be guided through the process, then left to experience it for themselves.
After showering, tying back hair and fitting the ear plugs provided (nobody likes waterlogged ears), it is time to float. It’s advisable although not mandatory to do so naked: swimwear can get weighed down by the high salt content and distract you. The air and water are both at body temperature, so not only are you perfectly warm, but you gradually lose any sense of where the water ends and you begin.
Some may be trepidatious about being confined in a small space, but the pod is bigger than expected: you can stretch out fully without touching the sides. Others may worry about getting trapped inside the pod, but it is designed so you can open it yourself from the inside with a gentle push. Or perhaps you’re nervous about hygiene? A combination of advanced filtration and UV light sanitise the water completely between each session, making Floatworks’ pods the cleanest available.
This particular reviewer was most concerned about the sensory deprivation. There’s a light-switch and a gentle blue hue inside the pod so you can see as you get settled, and a brief intro of ambient music. Then you are strongly advised to turn out the lights and experience total darkness and silence while you float.
As the shortest session is an hour, such absence of stimulation is a daunting prospect for someone who is always plugged into headphones or staring at a screen. Won’t it be boring?
At first the strange sensation of floating is a diversion. The high quantity of Epsom salt (half a tonne in each pod) gives the water a silky sensation. It’s rich in magnesium, which can soothe skin conditions, revive tired muscles and generally induce restfulness.
As your body adjusts and relaxes into the water, your thoughts become free-flowing. Soon the white noise of to-do lists and targets fades into more abstract, dream-like musing. As we ponder whether this was what it was like in the womb, or how astronauts feel in space, the time slips away surprisingly quickly. Many fall asleep, others enter a meditative state.
The ambient music returns for a short period at the end to ease you out of the experience (and to wake you if needed). We felt a little woozy from all the relaxation, but a hot shower helps bring you back to earth. There’s a pampering room with mirrors, hair dryers and organic cosmetics, and an essential oil scented relaxation room for those who’d like to prolong the experience.
We left Floatworks feeling lighter, physically and emotionally. Tight, achy muscles felt looser and the mental buzz of stresses and tasks ahead felt far more manageable.
Give floatation therapy a try: Culture Whisper readers can enjoy 15% off their first session at Floatworks. Use the code CULTUREWHISPER when booking on the Floatworks website. The offer is valid until 25 November 2019.
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