It’s a normal day outside in the middle of busy South London. The trains are overflowing, police sirens blaring and life is a hectic battle. Take a step inside Floatworks and it’s a completely different story.
I’m lying in an enclosed pod full of warm water, completely alone in a private room and all I hear is pure silence. Imagine the act of meditation but instead of sitting on a yoga mat on the floor, you’re floating in a tank of water.
Floatation therapy is the latest wellbeing trend taking over the city and at the beloved Vauxhall haunt, Floatworks, it’s as popular as ever. Floating is said to have endless benefits on mood, muscles and your mind with the goal to shut off your brain, completely relax and discover a deep meditative state. The more you float, the better the outcomes are said to be.
As soon as you step through the doors you’re taken into a private room with a shower and floating pod, glowing with blue fluorescent lights. It looks more like a space simulation of sorts rather than an alternative meditation therapy but there’s a sense of calm that immediately hits you.
The water solution, full of magnesium rich Epsom Salts, is heated to 35.5C, the air temperature is also controlled so you can’t tell what part of you is in the water and what is not. As you start to float, drop your head back, let your arms, legs and body completely relax and you get what the fuss is about.
It’s not like floating in the pool or at the beach, you’re lifted effortlessly to the top of the water with the help of the salts and all you have to do is let go. Being enclosed in a pod for an hour is not everyone’s idea of fun, but the pod is much bigger than it looks with enough room to completely stretch out and not feel claustrophobic. I’d be lying if I said I completely blissed out for the full one hour but as a first-time floater and hopeless meditator, I did manage to fall into a state of relaxation and the felt the benefits long after.
Floating is designed to have a cumulative effect much like meditation, yoga and exercise, the more you float, the better you feel. It’s almost impossible to erase distractions from our lives, sit in complete silence for a full hour while living in one of the busiest and most populated cities in the world.
That is, if you haven’t ever tried to float.