With an ethereal blue light and silence all around I wonder if I can float here for a whole hour. I’m laying in a pod filled with ten inches of water and a thousand pounds of epsom salts churning this thought round but, as time goes on, I wonder how I’ve never discovered this before. I’m officially a fan of floatation therapy. Initially daunting but so calming, it was unlike anything I’ve ever tried before.
I was reading Healthy, the Holland and Barrett monthly magazine, when I originally discovered flotation therapy. They did a write up about it and I was intrigued immediately. I decided to give it a go and, with promises of physical pain relief, stress relief, healthy skin and better sleep, I was curious to see if it was all it was cracked up to be.
I did my research and discovered that The Float Spa was down in Hove. Not only was Hove just an hour along the coast by train (from Portsmouth) but The Float Spa looked amazing! Practically on the seafront, the spa is in a large basement where you really feel like you’re getting away from the world for a few hours. I contacted the spa to book my appointment and eagerly awaited my time in the flotation pod.
I must admit, I didn’t really know what to expect but, once I stepped into the spa, what followed was the most relaxing few hours I think I’ve ever spent somewhere. I’d booked in for a massage before my float experience hoping it would help me relax before the float (relaxing before an hour or relaxing!) and it did the trick. They recommend that I do this as I mentioned to the team that I struggle to wind down sometimes. If you’re new to floating it may help if you’re nervous.
I had a lovely lady called Sasha who made sure I got what I needed out my massage. They have a range of different massages but I went for deep tissue (all those knots from working hard in the gym). Sasha asked all about my background and why I felt I needed the massage so she could tailor her time with me to get the most out of my treatment, while also discovering if I had any real pain that couldn’t be worked on.
My hour with Sasha flew by far too quickly and before I knew it my massage was over and I was taken into the float room. I’d already been shown around the room and had the finer details of the pod explained to me (they ask you to arrive at the spa 15 minutes early for this) so I could just head on into my hour of floating knowing that I had everything I needed.
Each float room has one pod, a shower (equipped with organic and cruelty free toiletries), a chair and some earbuds. If you have sensitive ears make sure you use these! The pod is easy to open and close and has a handle on the in and the outside and you can choose to float with the light on or off and with the lid open or closed. I chose to close the lid to feel shut away from everyday life and, although I tried the light both on and off, I kept it on for the duration as I found that it relaxed me more than floating in the dark. The pod plays 5 minutes of relaxing music to signal the start of your hour and the music returns five minutes before the end to let you know that it’s time to leave your pod (boohoo!).
So, what is floatation therapy and why should you try it? Flotation therapy started to explode in the UK over the last few years with people now becoming devotees of the practice.
Floatation Therapy is one of the most unique and powerful tools that is highly effective at combating chronic stress and its associated conditions. Also floating is highly enjoyable and creates profound experiences of relaxation and wellbeing- The Float Spa
So what are some of the benefits?
- Physical de-stressing. With the gym, running, working full time and everyday stresses it’s easy to forget to make time to de-stress. Physically, working out takes it’s toll – I see a chiropractor and a sports masseuse but, on the odd occasion, there are times when I walk away from treatment wondering why I don’t feel more relaxed. The idea behind the pod is that you get in naked (gasp!) so that, as you become more relaxed, you lose where your body ends and the water begins. You’re truly taking pressure off your whole body for an hour.
- Mental relaxation. In a world of mobile phones, laptops and tablets it’s nice to know that you can’t really access these things in the pod. The ever increasing need to be on social media (I know I’m the worst … just ask my boyfriend about my Instagram!) can bog you down. But here? You’re in your own floating world where there’s no need to check on the latest news from Facebook or how many likes you have on Twitter.
- Better sleep. Relaxed body and mind = better chances of drifting off at bed time. Need I say more?
- The salts in the water are good for your skin. Epsom salts contain magnesium and are known for their restorative features. According to LIVESTRONG.com, magnesium can combat skin allergies, stop acne breakouts and stop dryness from appearing. Many athletes rub magnesium spray on their tired muscles after a hard day slogging it out in training.
When I hear the music return, it signals the end of my hour and I wonder how it went by so fast. I feel a deep sense of relaxation that I’m not sure I’ve ever felt before, while at the same time feeling energised. Even while I’m showering I’m focused on me and how I feel, rather than returning to my thoughts about the outside world. I head out to reception where I’m greeted with a mango sorbet and some green tea and told that I can spend as long as I need before I leave.
As I head out (with a bag full of goodies that The Float Spa sell behind their counter) my thoughts turn to when I can come back. If you’re thinking of trying flotation therapy my advice is to just do it! Give The Float Spa a call and book in. Do something for you to restore your mind, body and soul.
Trains from Portsmouth take roughly an hour and prices start from £15 for a day return. An hours float costs £65 (although they often do deals on a series of float treatments).
Treat yourself and float away.