Floatation therapy has arrived in Bulimba. For those uninitiated, floatation therapy is just that: floating weightlessly in a sound-proofed softly lit pod offering a complete break to your senses and the deepest relaxation you have ever experienced.
Last week Matt and Amy, founders of Inna Bliss Yoga, invited me to try one of their new floatation pods at Bliss Float to see for myself. I had tried floatation therapy many moons ago as a fresh-faced Pommie backpacker in Byron Bay and memories of that dark, dank tank accompanied by dripping and a faint fear of getting a verruca came flooding back with a shudder. Luckily, times have changed. Blissfloat’s pods are light, bright, wired for sound and totally sterile – in case you were wondering. The natural chemical properties of the solution mean it’s physically impossible for any living organism to grow in the salt water, but the water is completely filtered after each use anyway to ensure that it remains perfectly pure. One of the most significant of the therapeutic qualities of the water is its high concentration of magnesium which is easily absorbed into your system via your skin as you float healing and easing tired muscles. It’s great for rehabilitation after injury too for this reason.
As soon as you walk through the door to Blissfloat, the calm, cool vibe of Amy’s gorgeously designed reception immediately removes you from the busyness of Oxford Street. Every sense breathes a sigh of relief as the cool whites and gentle music ease you into the inner sanctum where you will find an infrared sauna on one side or the lunar-looking float pods on the other side of the hallway.
The floatation pods are central in oversized shower rooms where you are invited to rinse off the day before climbing into the almost womb-like pods. Amy offered a few tips for a floatation novice which are worth noting. If you step into the pod backwards you can easily squat into the water and close the lids as you lower yourself into the water. The lids can close completely but can also be left ajar to allow you to get comfortable in the space if you are nervous but the lights and the music certainly dispelled any ideas of claustrophobia that I had. On Amy’s advice, I tucked a facecloth she provided me within the handle of the pod which was useful when I splashed water on my face to ensure I didn’t get salt in my eyes. She also supplied me with earplugs which I thought were to reduce sound but turns out are really useful for keeping the salt out of your ears. One became lose during my float and I am still finding salt in my ear a week later so they are worth inserting well if you don’t like crusty ears!
You may be a little surprised that the water isn’t actually warm. In fact it is heated to body temperature so that whilst it felt a little cool to me at first, within minutes it became ‘invisible’ and I felt my limbs slip away. Amy had offered me a foam headrest as she has found that ‘newbies’ often hold a lot of tension in their necks and the foam float offers extra support to make floating more comfortable. I had planned to use this but realised I’d left it on the chair once I was already floating so I took the plunge and decided to give it a go ‘unassisted’. At first I felt this was a bad decision as I could indeed feel the tension in my neck and shoulders which distracted me from the deliciousness weightlessness I was experiencing for the rest of my body. I practised some deep breathing that I had learned in yoga and within minutes my neck and head also disappeared merging with the water.
Last time I tried floatation therapy I quickly became bored. Granted, I was in my twenties, backpacking and pre-kids so I wasn’t as strung out and shattered as I perennially feel these days but I think the environment didn’t help me to feel relaxed before I entered. At Blissfloat you are shown an ’emergency’ button if you need assistance; you can control the lighting; how closed or not the pod is; and the sounds you can hear. The standard setting is relaxation music for 15 minutes which then fades to silence returning 5 minutes before it’s time to get out. However, you can choose your own music or chose a guided meditation by local meditation expert Alison Potts. I think I’ll try this next time.
Floatation therapy for me combines the best of massage and yoga – without the exertion. I found my body really felt relaxed and my mind felt rested in the same way it does after yoga. The time alone, removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life allowed me time to ‘sort’ my thoughts and I’ll be honest, I think I may have caught a few Zs in there too but the magic of it all is that time disappears just like