I can’t remember when I first became aware that floatation tanks were “a thing that actually existed” but I feel like I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try one.
My curiosity was perhaps dampened a bit in 2007 when Jeremy infamously locked a colleague inside one during an episode of Peep Show, but on the whole I’ve been completely fascinated by the idea of being cocooned in a warm pod like some sort of pre-hatched dinosaur.
And I can now proudly say I’ve tried it.
On Friday morning I headed over to the newly opened Floatworks in St George Wharf, Vauxhall to make all my floatation dreams come true.
I’d read about it on Charlie’s blog and tried not to have too many preconceptions (something which the staff also reiterated when I arrived) but it was hard not to be excited. I am at my utmost happiest when I am in water, HOW COULD I NOT BE EXCITED?!
I knew from some basic research though that the point wasn’t actually to get all het up and giddy about past lives as a mermaid, but to actually relax. And whilst I wasn’t worried I’d be claustrophobic in the tank, I did worry I might get bored. An hour is a long time and switching off isn’t something I do lightly.
Floatworks have four float pods and I was surprised that even at 10.30 on a weekday I was one of three people arriving for a session. There was a woman my mum’s age who had apparently floated “hundreds of times” and then there was a businessman who looked a bit younger than me. One by one we were led to our individual darkened pod rooms and it’s in these rooms that you undress and shower, so the whole experience is very private.
The first thing that struck me was just how big the float pod was. At 8ft6 long and 5ft6 wide these pods are the biggest in the market and I certainly wasn’t worried about getting in it. I did suddenly panic that I might be the first person in history to not be able to float (apparently it’s physically impossible to be too fat to float given how much salt they use but I could imagine if it would happen to anyone it would DEFINITELY BE ME) but I knew there was a button I could press for help if I needed to and – of course – you can just pop open the lid and get out if you were to get claustrophobic. It’s not like you’re locked inside and abandoned.
After a quick shower and inserting some ear plugs, I was ready to clamber in.
At this point there was a relaxing blue light on within the pod and hushed classical music playing. The water was lovely and warm and felt soft, but other than that it felt like stepping into any other type of bath really. Anyone hoping to be able to walk on water would be sorely disappointed.
Once I was settled and lying down though, I was of course floating. Science prevailed! I could float like the best of them! I turned the light off with a big button to my left (it would have turned off itself within ten minutes or so) and the music faded out until I was in complete silence.
It’s a truly surreal feeling, only heightened by the fact all your other senses are deprived. It’s *truly* pitch black once the lights go out and I got the fright of my life when my tummy rumbled at one point. I thought a bear had got in.
I knew it would “feel nice” to float but I didn’t expect it to feel quite so therapeutic for my muscles. My lower back clicked a couple of times and I found myself doing some big stretches whilst in there. I certainly felt a lot more loosened up after my float than I usually do after a massage.
I hadn’t appreciated how well regulated the temperatures were inside the pod either, but the water and air are controlled to be at body temperature which meant that once I was relaxed I truly couldn’t tell which parts of me were submerged and which were exposed to the air. I really felt like I was floating in deepest darkest outer space rather than on water.
I didn’t fall asleep, but I did feel incredibly peaceful. I thought of wombs a great deal and had a great desire to call my mum afterwards (on a related note, floating is supposed to be absolutely heavenly during pregnancy).
I did find my mind wandering towards what time it was as the session neared the end. You have no way of knowing how long you’ve been in there of course and I was annoyed by how much I allowed this to distract me towards the very end, but soon enough the music faded back in which signalled I only had five minutes remaining.
I can imagine that with repeat visits I’d switch off more, but on the whole I felt like I tuned out. I normally spend massages or anything remotely “relaxing” thinking about work and shopping and dinner and emails and so on and so forth, but I didn’t really think about anything during my float except floating itself.
Would I do it again? Definitely. I’ve had my curiosity sated and I know what floating feels like now, so I think on subsequent visits I could just truly relax and enjoy every minute.
I ended up having a dentist appointment a few hours after my float and whilst I was having some pretty painful things done, I found myself imagining I was back in the flotation pod. I wasn’t trying to picture it on purpose, my mind just naturally wandered that way and even the dentist appointment ended up feeling relaxing.
I was pretty blissed out all day really. I’m not sure I’d go for a morning appointment again (I was the definition of unproductive for the rest of the day!) but they stay open pretty late so I’d like to try doing one just before bed.
It’s not a cheap hobby – at Floatworks a first time float offer is £45 for an hour, it’s usually £55 unless you book a course – but the prices are in line with other spa-based relaxation treatments.
With our “wellness” obsession being at an all-time high, I’m definitely intrigued to see if floating becomes a more popular pastime. I can see it happening.
You can read more about the claimed benefits of floating and book your own float here.
Oh and if you’re a vlog watcher you’ll see a bit more on Thursday 😉
I was invited to try Floatworks for free but this is not a sponsored post and, as ever, all views are my own. You can read more about how I work with brands here.