Sensory deprivation- what you might need to feel like yourself again

I tried a less commercial wellness treatment that has nothing to do with face masks or cleanse juices.

Completely naked, I entered into an egg shaped spaceship, that somehow was really welcoming me inside. I pulled the lid down and some soothing music stared as I was lying on the water. That’s right, on it because the water is so salty (500 kilograms of Epsom salt to be accurate) that it doesn’t let you touch the bottom of the pod. It’s like a water bed, and surprisingly you have enough support for your neck, no pillow needed, though you can take a special neck pillow with you inside if you wish. I tuned off the blue light and I waited. I was focusing on my breathing, as I learnt during my not so successful mediation attempts. I wanted to let go of everything, to be nothing, to feel nothing.

Hackney Float Club flotation pod

Well, there were brief moments when I was one with my breathing, but there were all the other moments where my head was rambling. But I let it do it without reacting to my thoughts. I observed them and I observed how I felt during the whole day without judgment.

The water didn’t feel like water, but more like a super soft silk that was embracing my body. My skin was as soft as the water. I was touching my arms and my belly from time to time realizing that I haven’t been so connected with my body in a while or maybe even never. I felt grateful for my healthy body and I appreciated it, something that I don’t usually do.
I moved slowly from right to left with my whole body and I started to feel like a mermaid. I love mermaids and their under-water world. For a few moments I was in a story where I was a creature of the ocean.

Then, at some point I wondered how much time I had felt, I felt kind of bored, but I didn’t really want for the session to end. When you spend time in connection with yourself, claiming that you are bored helps with avoiding your thoughts. I realised that I don’t want to be sensory deprived, and that I should feel everything as it comes.

Towards the end of the hour the calming music starts up again letting you know that it’s time to get back into the real world. As I was climbing out of this high-tech womb I was wondering if I am more relaxed or not. Then, I realized that I feel like I do after a day at the beach. My favourite kind of day. My hair was salty, my skin soft and my muscles were not tense anymore.

Before heading home, I was offered a cup of tea which gave me the chance to find out more about this niche wellness treatment, called flotation. My first flotation experience happened at Hackney Float Club, in London. The float pods are crafted into refurbished cargo containers at The Gossamer City Project. Located in the heart of Hackney, Gossamer Gardens is a small, sociable community of creative studios and wellness practitioners. You could actually feel the slow pace and the positive vibe as you walked through the garden.

Flotation tank/pod, isolation tank or sensory deprivation tank is a light-proof (if you choose to turn off the light) and sound proof environment where the temperature is the same as the temperature of your skin.

The tank is filled with 10 inches of water which is concentrated in Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) to enable you to float effortlessly.
The primary function of the isolation tank is to eliminate as many of the external senses as possible, but as my mentor explains, every person goes in there with a different purpose. Beginners mostly want to shut their mind and to not think, but if you keep going you will see you can use it in different ways. She tells me that a lot of business people go there because they want an entire hour just to think about their next project and their creativity sparks in that environment. Others enter a deep meditative state and others simply fall asleep. The fact is that the end of the session everyone feels better, regardless their objective.

I was walking back home, and I didn’t turn on my music, again something that happens rarely. I was feeling good, and I couldn’t explain why, I didn’t try to force myself to leave with positive thoughts, not at all, I was sceptic even after the session ended.

I was surprised to feel like that because in the past few weeks my mood was usually very low. I also slept like a baby, and when I woke up I finally went for a run, something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time.

A single, 60 minutes float is around 50£ at any flotation club in London. Not something that lots of people can afford to do every week, but if you’re interested to try it, I would say giving up a new bag for a floatation is totally worth it.

Hackney Flotation Club Illustration

*This article is part of Divest Magazine

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