What is a flotation tank? The water in the tank is heated to skin temperature and almost saturated with Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulphate) providing buoyancy so that you can float more easily. You enter the tank and are cut off from all outside stimulation.
- Elevates Mood (decreases depression and anxiety)
- Increases energy
- releases endorphins
- alleviates pain and stress
- Promotion of better, more restful sleep
- Relief of muscle tightness
- Performance improvements
Before The day that my mum and I were due to use the flotation tank was a relatively bad pain day for me after a rough nights sleep so essentially was the perfect time for me to try it out. I had booked with Groupon and thought it would be something different that we could try as we both suffer with some form of pain. Like all things I have tried, I was pretty sceptical but, like everything, it was worth a try. We travelled to the London Flotation Centre which took us about an hour from NW London. We were told that as first timers, the experience would feel quite strange however, over prolonged use, your body and mind will get used to the idea of floating and relaxing. We were supplied with ear plugs, Vaseline for any cuts or new tattoos and a towel and were instructed to shower before entering the pod. You are given your own lockable room with shower so can float in complete privacy with no interruption or distractions.
During When I first entered the pod, it did take me a little while to relax and get into a comfortable position. There was a switch inside so you could choose whether to keep the light on or not and a spray bottle of fresh water in case you happened to get any of the salt water in your eyes. Bird sounds played for about 5 minutes before you were left in complete silence. I kept my ears out of the water at first but, found that this really hurt my neck but, once I laid back I gradually started to relax and felt a sense of weightlessness that really allowed my body to calm down. I did try turning off the light but, after a short time, started to feel disorientated so turned it back on. It was weird that I could not really feel any pain as I am so used to it. I did try to do a body scan (Body Scan: A way of bringing awareness to the body. Breathing in and out, noticing touch and pressure where it makes contact with the seat or floor. Throughout this practice, allow as much time as you need or want to experience and investigate each area of the body) but, I found that my mind was too clouded with thoughts about everything else which won my focus. I have always struggled to switch off and focus more on the present so this was no different. In what felt like no time, the bird sounds and a gentle whirlpool started to let you know that the session had almost come to an end. I jumped out just as the whirlpool started because after an hour, I was ready to get out and have a shower.
After As the experience had left me feeling sleepy (as expected) it was a bit of a struggle to have a shower and get dressed. This is one thing that I would point out to people with Fibromyalgia. As these tasks can often be difficult for us anyway, take into consideration that although you are given some time, there will most likely be people booked in after you so make staff aware that you will need some extra time. However, my pain had considerably decreased in comparison to when i had first arrived which was a surprise.
Next day I managed to fall asleep pretty easily and had a good nights sleep however, my pain was back in full force by the morning and the lovely relaxed feeling i had less than 24 hours ago had disappeared. I also found that the muscles in my stomach were aching more than usual. Sadly, the possibility of feeling energised was also a far cry from how i felt.
Final thoughts Although I did find floating relaxing, I did find myself getting agitated and bored. I’m sure for those who find it easy to meditate, the experience would be more fulfilling. I did enjoy the decrease in pain but, sadly it was short lived. I’m sure this would be different for everyone so i do think it is worth a try, even as just a one off experience.