Have you ever had a bath in the dark, with no noise, no distractions, endless space and the complete sense of weightlessness both physically and mentally? For a whole hour? Sounds good doesn’t it? Sounds restful too, and it truly is… And it’s a lot better than what I’ve just described, it’s an hour of luxury and ultimate self-care for both the body and the mind.
Last month, FloatHub UK invited me to try Floatation Therapy at their brand-new premium floatation hub in Shoreditch, London, UK (#gifted). I had heard about floatation therapy briefly from some members of the Arthritis Foodie Community, and, as always, I am willing to try any natural remedy to ease my arthritis and pain, to in turn – help all of you to do the same.
I’d taken a look at their website, and done brief research about floatation, the guide FloatHub UK provides is very thorough and gave me a good understanding. In reality, it was so much better. The space is beautifully designed, with a welcoming entrance, private rooms, a powder room and a relaxation room for post-floating. I was guided through the rooms and the processes before starting, and the FloatHub team really ensured that I felt comfortable and at ease.
So, what is a float / floating / floatation therapy?
“With more than 525kg of high-quality epsom salt, you will float effortlessly in the waters of our spacious float pods with no light, sound, or external pressures to refresh your mind and restore your health to new levels.”
Inside the floatation hubs (see photos) your body floats weightlessly supported by a cushion of silky (it really does feel like liquid silk to touch) skin-temperature liquid. There is no sensation of gravity, sight or sound and you are encapsulated in a space that leaves you no option other than to relax. Epsom salt (also known as magnesium sulphate) has been used since the 1600’s and has been established as a natural remedy for a number of ailments. It was discovered in 1618 by farmer Henry Wicker in Epsom, England, when his cows refused to drink the water because of it’s mineral bitter taste. Wicker was the first person in history to experience the healing effects of Epsom salts and began promoting the waters as a medicine.
My experience (continued):
I’d made sure to have had a light meal before floating (a veggie omelette with avocado on the side) and drank plenty of water (but a good 90 mins before floating I stopped soon as I wouldn’t need the bathroom!) The private room I was given was spacious, warm, and dimly lit like a spa with the floating hub in the middle and a shower, plus towels, makeup wipes, ear plugs, and a place to sit.
Once I had removed my make-up, showered, and inserted the ear plugs (so the water wouldn’t go in my ears) I was ready to go. I missed the sunset and music due to still being in the shower (it started getting darker and darker as I was stood there naked – honestly – my fault completely!) so I quickly turned the lights back on. Some of you may not know, but I am a calamity and fumbling mess sometimes (I open ‘Push’ signed doors as an example), so I couldn’t fathom the machine at first, even though the lovely lady at FloatHub UK had shown me twice… But essentially, you reach inside for the internal buttons to get the lid to start closing, and then I kept it slightly ajar by an inch, just for my own sanity as it would be typical of me to get trapped in there.
Then I stepped into the water (in the nude), and found the water so calming and warm, not too hot and not too cold – just right. And you literally float. It’s amazing! Your whole body feels like you could be in outer space with the darkness, the quiet, and being weightless. It took me some time to wriggle where I fancied and relax and let the water carry me, but once I did – it felt wonderful. It closed my eyes and enjoyed every minute of the stillness. Your body tends to move and flex in odd ways and it feels like you are the liquid itself, totally fluid and floating.
You can float with the lights on if you choose, but I chose to keep it dark. The hour went by so fast, but I honestly felt significantly less pain, and so rested. Read this review by Andrew who has Rheumatoid Arthritis and went recently, he seemed to have the same experience as me – and it helped him.
Afterwards, you shower and wash off the salt, get dressed, then head to the powder room if you need to dry your hair or do your makeup. If not, you go straight to the relaxation room where there is a selection of magazines, and scrumptious herbal teas. So, I sat in there a while, phone-less (there’s no service in there anyway which was great!) and read the magazine Breathe, with an orange and fennel tea.
What are its health benefits, is it medicinal?
There are so many health benefits to a Float, here are some that I gathered from some research and information from FloatHub UK too:
- Boosted secretion of beta endorphins, which are natural pain inhibitors – same as exercise endorphins – and I got this – I definitely felt in less pain while I was floating.
- Relaxes the nervous system, people with conditions such as fibromyalgia may find relief.
- Improves circulation.
- Lowers heart rate.
- Increases lactate flush (ridding your body of lactic acid, whilst relieving the muscles).
- Helps with anxiety, and PTSD.
- Restores the hormone balance and gets rid of the ‘brain fog’.
- Pregnant women have had profound reactions, as shutting off all noise and sensory stimulation enables them to feel more connected to their child and lowers back pain too.
- There are three states of Meditation, state alpha, beta, and theta, theta is the deepest state of meditation (only expert meditators and yogis usually achieve) and has been shown to be achieved in 40 minutes with the help of a sensory deprivation tank (like FloatHub).
- Scientifically, the body is so relaxed that the brain waves slow down.
- Navy Seals use float therapy in the curriculum and the US military uses it at scale, as it creates improved focus, creativity and state of “super-learning” from floating – they reduced learning languages from 6 months to 6 weeks.
What is the Float Hub UK Story?
Founder Tom found help in Floats for his own sleep after struggling with sleep apnea and insomnia for a long time. After floating, he ended up feeling far more rested and recovered, more so than the poor-form of rest he was getting from sleep.
He’s now running FloatHub UK to provide this incredible remedy to others. On top of this, he runs a volunteer programme for people who want to Float, but can’t afford it. With the volunteer programme, you simply have to volunteer with one of their charity partners and you can earn free floats. And, free floats to emergency services professionals – which I think is just wonderful.
Would you like to try FloatHub?
I’d highly recommend it, but it has to be FloatHub UK – outstanding!
Go to my Instagram page @ArthritisFoodie to enter the competition launching in January 2020. FloatHub UK will kindly be giving away two floating experiences, one for you and a friend – all you have to do is comment on the post with the friend that you’d take with you, like the post, and follow @floathubuk & @arthritisfoodie.@arthitisfoodie
How much does it cost to do a Float?
- Monthly membership is £40 a month for one float a month, if you want more floats as a member a float is £40 a month.
- If you aren’t a member, a single float is £55.
- If you make referrals as a member, you get credited with a float too.
- As mentioned earlier, if you work in the emergency services you can float for free, or if you want to volunteer to earn a float, you can.
What’s included in the membership?
- Partnership with a sleep expert and consultation for members.
- Free gift card upon sign-up.
- They will also allow members to choose 90-minute floats at no extra charge, assuming they have availability.
- Upcoming in the membership: Osteopaths, nutritionists, personal trainers – all of these discounted from selected partners.
- No minimum term.
- More info on memberships is here: https://floathub.co.uk/membership/.
The membership is extremely good value if you’re going to be going once, or more than once!
Finally, some tips for your visit:
- Don’t wear any make up – saves the hassle and time of taking it off. You’re provided with Simple facewipes if you do though, so it’s okay! I just wish I’d not worn any.
- Bring a hairbrush, I brushed my hair with my hands, as this is something I totally forgot! Didn’t realise that when you float you totally let your hair roam free – it’s lovely.
- Practise some mindfulness before you go – I really struggled to switch off initially, and it was only in the last 20-30 mins that I think I was in the right zone.