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Ever heard of floating? Read My No-Nonsene Guide…
Posted June 10, 2015 by Bethanie Lunn
When The Float Spa opened in Hove it was the talk of the town. Partly because the mindful, bohemian types of the City thanked the stars that they could now enjoy a treatment so beneficial for their wellbeing (more on this later), and partly because there were so many asking, ‘what the heck is floating’?
Well, still the talk of the town and for all the right reasons, The Float Spa is a destination I now regularly visit and here’s why…
My No-Nonsense Guide to Floatation
Floating – What is it?
Simply put, floatation is a practice where you float inside a special pod of Epsom Salt water and zen out. In a space where it’s just you, no noise, no hassles, your body lowers its levels of cortisol (the main chemical component of stress), while your brain releases elevated levels of dopamine and endorphins (feel good vibes).
As The Float Spa puts it, ‘your muscles, joints and bones take a well-deserved break. Your mind becomes still and your body suddenly has loads of extra resources, which allows it to focus on things like healing and resting – the stress simply floats away’.
The Science Bit
Alpha waves are what our brains usually churn out – everyday thoughts of the conscious mind – but during a float, it starts to churn out Theta waves. The Theta state is mostly associated with advanced meditative techniques for immense clarity. If you’ve ever read Eat, Pray, Love you’ll know this state is the epitome of being, making you feel alive, happy and at peace.
While this is going on in your head, your body is allowed to fully relax as the water helps blood flow effectively to all parts. The Epsom Salts meanwhile soften and replenish your skin. Think of it as an inside-out MOT.
You can read more about the concept and all its benefits here.
The Floatation Pods
The Float Spa has the biggest Floatation Pods around (the I-Sopod), at 8ft 6″ long by 5ft 6″ wide, so you’ve loads of space to manoeuvre around if you want to and no, you won’t feel claustrophobic. You can leave the lid up if you choose but I prefer to close it as I enjoy the feeling of being enveloped in calmness. You can also leave the lights on inside your pod, have them therapeutically changing colour or opt for darkness. The Founder and Managing Director, Camille Pierson recommends trying darkness for the ultimate stillness in which to free yourself. The beauty of it is, you can tailor make your experience to suit.
The Pods. Image courtest of The Float Spa
Each floatation pod is filled with 10 inches of water and 1000 pounds of Epsom Salts kept to skin temperature. Under-Body Heaters maintain a constant temperature during your float, so that you don’t get cool during your float sessions and that snuggly warm feeling lasts.
It is such a wonderfully comforting and relaxing experience that you have no choice but to give in and succumb to the charms.
The Story Behind the Spa
Camille Pierson is an ambitious and brilliant business woman who at once exudes confidence and charisma when you meet her. She is the sort of woman who you know you should listen to, with boundless ideas and inspiration not just for her own business but for the wellbeing of her clients. Camille is also a proud mum to daugther Dali but it is a painful time in their pasts that created the need for The Float Spa.
In 2014 Dali became very sick and had to spend time in hospital. Thankfully, Dali recovered but when Camille returned to a highly stressful full time job, sick with worry for her daughter too, she was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This carried on for several months and it was her father Gideon who recommended floatation to help alleviate the PTSD.
Thanks goodness she listended since floating radically improved Camille’s PTSD so, with no nearby floatation spas in Brighton and Hove, she sought to open one herself. See what I mean? Impressive drive and tenacity, right? Camille says, ‘I wanted to give others what I had found – the most perfect treatment; after I found floating I was able to take a whole new perspective on life, think more positively, I was able to look inside and find the things that bothered me and learn how to change them, the result is I am happier than ever’.
Want to try it then?..
After being greeted warmly at reception, you are shown to your suite and guided through the process. With your own private shower, the experience starts this way then you climb in. You can wear swimwear but it is recommended you go naked to really feel free.
I used the provided earplugs as you can otherwise get dry salt in your ears afterward, which isn’t ideal. It washes out easily but I find it best to wear them throughout and put them in before you get in so you can position them correctly.
Once you’ve climbed in and closed the lid (if you wish), relaxing music plays for the first 10 minutes to lull you into relaxation. Toward the end, music gently plays for five minutes to remind you to slowly come to.
After your float, you shower and can use the vanity room if you wish to blowdry your hair, apply your makeup – whatever you need – and you then return to reception for a gorgeous hot herbal tea and melon sorbet. Camille makes the sorbet herself and it is so perfectly paired to the treatment, wrapping up your journey with quenching refreshment that instantly enlivens you. I love this stuff so much that I’m going to film a video on the recipe so I can enjoy it at home too.
What do I think to floating overall?
I’ve tried floating twice now and the first experience was largely different to the second, improving each time so I can’t wait for my third. It is recommended you float a minimum of three times before deciding if it is for you. On the first float, it was all about getting used to the fact that I was buoyant and letting go mentally.
Pyhscially, I got used to the feeling by rummaging, feeling my around the water, letting it gently rise around the sides of my face. I was also advised to let my head drop back so as to not strain my neck and trust the water. I personally found it most comfortable to let my arms drift up above my head in a relaxed starfish pose.
Like this but arms up (Image courtesy of The Float Spa)
Mentally, my mind was all over the place. I thought about EVERYTHING, from daily chores to career ideas and ex boyfirends (the latter of which haven’t been in my life for over a decade)! Camille assures me this is 100% normal, in fact, this is the bodies way of de-stressing and your mind is shifting brain state, de-stressing and dubinking, ridding any negative energy and relieving stress for a feeling of wellbeing. Camille advises, ‘Don’t fight the thoughts, let them come and go – it’s part of the relaxation process. Let it cut through and then let it pass’.
The second time, I adopted my most comfortable pose immediately and simply surrended to the feeling, improving my mental experience too. This time, my mind focused more on current priorities and I used the time to mediate and visualise. I highly recommend going into the experience by either being mindful, visualising or meditating (or all three). You can follow Samantha Goodchild’s tips for mindfulness and mediaition >here< to help you. Samantha is a Mediaitaton Teacher at The Float Spa and particularly awesome at what she does, making these pratices accessible to us all.
My first experience cntred around getting used to doing nothing for an hour, a harder task than you might think but I left feeling invigorated regardless. I’d had a particularly stressful week on my second float and found the experience both relaxing and uplifting. I felt blissed out and at peace, fully satisfied and ready to go all at once; like I’d had the most incredible expresso while taking in a sea view – a sensory pick-me-up from the inside-out.
I felt clarity on issues I’d previously found challenging and came out of there knowing what I had to do to feel better, change this, improve that. I find myself thinking back to the experience a lot too, almost craving another float; testament to the treatment I feel.
It takes a couple of sessions to become comfortable with the newness of nothingness, let go and realise the benefits. Once you realise the benefits, the cheapest way to float is with a membership but it costs £45 for a single experience for new clients and £65 for regulars (both including a single 90 minute session, included welcome drink, 60 minutes floating, the scrumptious sorbet and tea).
Good to Know
The Float Spa doesn’t just offer floats. You’ll find classes and workshops in yoga for all types of needs to mindfulness and therapies including massage and hypnotherapy amongst others. The studio timetable and prices are all on the website.
What are you waiting for? x