I’m always one for trying new and innovative health trends. I have written extensively on just about every single one of them, fromIntermittent fasting to cold showers and saunas, I’ve covered it all – hell, I’ve even got a book on them! But what about Floating?
I’ll be honest, floating has never really been on my radar until the past 6 months or so, when I was walking through Liverpool and stumbled across an intriguing little blue sign that stuck with me for a while – Float Planet.
What is floating? Will it take me to another planet? Am I going to try this? All these questions were flying through my mind as I walked past.
Luckily, I got my answers.
What is floating?
Let’s kick it off with defining floating, what on Earth is it?
Also known as Floatation Therapy, floating simply means exactly what you thought – lying back in water and staying like that for a while.
It goes deeper though, believe me.
Starting out in the 1950’s as ‘sensory deprivation’ (which you’ve probably heard of), floatation therapy was shown to help myriad ailments, which led to it becoming commercial soon after.
It involves placing yourself in a tank or pod which has about 10 inches of water in it along with about 500lbs of epsom salt and is heated to precisely body temperature. You then lay there, weightless and reap the rewards.
Who are Float Planet?
Now we’ve got our heads around floating, who exactly are Float Planet?
They are a floatation therapy centre based in Liverpool city centre – the best place in the world.
Their mission is to create a fully immersive environment that helps lower stress, recover more quickly and live a bloody lovely life in general.
Float Planet’s environment is absolutely perfect for all of this. Kitted out with the best relaxing gear money can buy, I felt immediately at home as soon as I set foot in there – but more on this a bit later.
What’s so good about it?
There are loads of things to shout about when it comes to floatation but I’ve condensed them down to 5 for now so I don’t blow your mind too much.
Decreases stress, anxiety & Depression
I am the biggest stress-head ever although I don’t often show it. Tiny things stress me out so much and I know countless people like this. I also know that a huge percentage of the population suffer from anxiety and depression.
Studies have shown that floating can actually alleviate symptoms of all three of these.
Sign me up.
Improves sports performance
Float planet get dozens of athletes through their doors – front full top-flight football teams to champion boxers, athletes can’t get enough of it.
There’s a reason for this – floating can help to boost athletic capabilities, shown in case studies with Olympic medalists and human guinea pigs alike.
It could be down to the relaxation benefits of floating or potentially the minerals of the epsom salt – probably a mixture.
Makes you creative
Spending so much time alone with my thoughts was such a surreal experience but one thing I did notice was just how much more creative my mind became without constant stimulation.
I found myself coming at problems from different angles, thinking up new things to do with the blog and different avenues to explore in terms of building my business #empire.
I forgot most of these afterwards because I’m an idiot but the thoughts were still there.
If you read my blog, I will assume you’re into your physical activity. A lot of us who enjoy getting active put our bodies under a lot of stress. Couple that with all the mental stress we are exposed to on the daily and you’re looking at a recipe for burnout.
Floating helps to increase blood flow all around the body, which helps to provide tissue, organs and bones with much needed oxygenated good stuff.
This can help alleviate stress around the body and can even rid you of pain all together.
A direct consequence of floating is relaxation. A relaxed body is a body in sync with its natural clock, hence those who float well, sleep well.
Loads of studies back this up too, with some showing immediate benefits straight after just a single, hour-long float.
My experience with floating
Forgive me, as this is going to be quite a long section, but I just feel like I have to get it all down so you can really imagine what this place is like.
As soon as I walked in, I was greeted and shown a load of floating tips on an iPad just to get me in the mood.
I was then taken downstairs to where the magic happens. After a quick tour of the vanity room, toilets and the like, I was shown to my personal floatation room.
Here, I was given the full breakdown of what was to come. Basically, you quickly shower before you enter the pod. Wipe your face dry as you don’t want to be itching it in the salt water (there is a spray bottle in there if this happens though), put your ear pods in so that water doesn’t get in (it also helps keep any external noise out – though the tank does this 99% of the time), cover any cuts with petroleum jelly and then slide on in.
And yes, go in starkers if you want the full experience. There’s a table and wall hooks for all your stuff so don’t worry.
I was surprised by the sheer power of the water when I got in. I was expecting to sink down and have my fat arse skidding along the bottom, but the water lifted me up and kept me there – it was like some form of black magic. Initially, I was a bit intimidated by it but once I let myself go it was an unbelievable feeling of freedom.
If I was to recommend a ‘strategy’ on floating for your first time, I’d say use the float halo provided for the first half of it. The halo is just a support for your neck – I felt it was good to help me ease in. Then just experiment with different positions. I tried elongating my whole body, doing some strange star shape, resting my hands on my chest, etc.
Just keep varying it ’til you find a good’n.
But let’s get back to the float.
So you climb in, there’s an inviting blue hue in the tank which you can either keep on or switch off for the full experience. You can then close the lid if you wish or leave it open if you aren’t up for it – the room will go dark anyway.
Once it goes pitch black it’s game on. Music will start playing for the first 10 minutes to ease you into your float. It will also play again for the final 5 to ease you out. I loved this little touch as it really helped me zone in and out of my float.
About halfway through it really hits you that it’s just you and your thoughts with literally nothing else going on. This is going to sound really weird, but I felt like I was inside a mixture of the following; Heaven, deep space & the womb. Strange but at the same time, brilliant.
You really feel like it’s just you inside a void of infinite nothingness and it was such a welcome break from my monkey mind.
Afterwards, I realised that was the longest I’ve spent alone with my thoughts since I was about 8 years old and it couldn’t be more refreshing.
Harking back to my womb comparison, when the lights come on, you open the tank up and climb out, it feels like you’re being reborn.
Serious symbolism going on there but if you try it you’ll see what I mean. You feel like you’ve been in there forever and for just a moment simultaneously. Seeing light again is almost euphoric – I can see why some people cry (not me though because I’m such a manly man obviously!!).
Then it was time for a shower. Float Planet have got loads of nice toiletries to get you feeling like a high class member of society in no time. Once you’re dried and ready, you can hit the vanity room up if you wish. This is the start of the deep relaxation process that the guys have put in place post-float.
Once you’re done there, it is recommended that you chill out in the Float Planet relaxation room. This is a great place to meditate on your experience and just reacclimatise before you hit the big bad world again.
You can sit in alarmingly comfortable chairs, put your feet up and watch the world go by with a pot of their special brew tea and a book. I did some work on the blog during my down time and 2 hours went by in the blink of an eye!
So, would I recommend Float Planet? And floatation therapy as a whole?
In my humble opinion, my floating experience was one of them most surreal, unbelievable experiences of my relatively short existence.
Apparently, it only gets better with each float too, so if your head is blown by your first session, chances are, it’s going to implode even further if you go again.
Floating is legit.
If you’re willing to go deep within yourself and reap some major benefits, get involved.