How do you feel during the session?
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of floating is the concept of finding your ‘theta’ state of mind, which is something you typically only experience in those fleeting moments between wakefulness and sleep. When theta brain waves are produced, this can encourage vivid imagery and a free flow of ideas. “You reach a theta state of mind around 40 minutes into a session,” says Tom. “This state is incredible for creative thought or problem solving. At this stage, it can feel like your mind is racing (the opposite of what some people expect), although if this happens, you know it’s working. When you finish the session, you’ll feel happier, clearer and reinvigorated.”
Will you feel claustrophobic?
While float therapy may not be suitable for someone with extreme claustrophobia, the whole experience is much less enclosing than you may think. “Feeling claustrophobic is a common concern for those who haven’t tried floating, but in truth, rather than feeling closed in, there’s more of a feeling that there are no boundaries – like what floating in space might be like, if it were warm and very peaceful. We also have the largest pods in London, so you can control the lighting with an internal button, and even float with the pod open so it’s like an open pool.”
Is it hygienic?
So long as you’re heading to a decent float centre, you can be rest assured hygiene is a top priority, now more than ever. “Any high-quality float centre will take their water maintenance seriously,” says Tom. “Float solution will be near saturation point with Epsom salts (a natural anti-viral), plus there’ll be other hygiene measures, too. The best modern pods fully empty between sessions, guaranteeing 100% of the solution goes through a 1-micron filter, UVC filter and is maintained with a sanitiser or oxidant. At Float Hub, we use safe levels of hydrogen peroxide, which is odourless and degrades into water or air.”
Who’s it for?
If you struggle with meditation but want to reap the benefits, float therapy could be worth a try. “Floating is like an enhanced form of meditation,” explains Daniel Percival, director at 3Tribes. “In this light, it’s especially good for people who find meditation challenging as everything in a float pod encourages stillness of the mind and deep, clear thinking. A tank just helps you get there quicker.” And if the plethora of studies are anything to go by, an hour or two in a pod is worth a try if you struggle with stress, anxiety, chronic pain or skin issues such as eczema and psoriasis.
Anything else you need to know?
While you will feel instantly relaxed after one session, the experts say it’s worth having several sessions over the course of a couple of months to reap the benefits. “Most people feel clear benefits after one session, but they increase greatly with regular practice. Like playing an instrument, the more you do it, the better your body and mind are able to tune into the environment,” says Tom. And when it comes to dos and don’ts, Tom recommends not shaving on the day of a float, as the salt will sting any cuts, while Daniel says it’s a good idea to put Vaseline around your nostrils and any small cuts to minimise any potential stinging. “My other top tip is to relax your neck when you’re lying down as your body needs to acclimatise to not having to hold your head up in the water,” says Daniel. “But above all, have no expectations – each session is unique.”