‘Submerged in darkness you fall, into the vessel of your emancipation,A hundred silences flit like the gentle gushing of the tide,Take a deep breath and fall into nothingness, lilting lullabies awaiting your ascension,The real world does not exist, closed eyes in blissful ecstasy,Hear the waves break…1,2,3, switch off your senses, Sea nymphs drifting in and out of consciousness,The voices of a thousand sea maidens chorus as one,All the hurt and the desolation dissipate into H20, A Cheshire Cat sits grinning on his Meridian throne and so real life begins again once more, awakened to reality I crumble and the nymphs and the sea maidens disappear into my subconsciousness once again’
I have always wanted to be a mermaid, and since I was a little girl I craved the tranquil solace of the open sea, where I would be free to be alone with the intensity of my thoughts and seek the healing powers of the seas peaceful energy. Not much has changed since and it is through swimming that I learnt to be aware of the strength I possessed in me to overcome any obstacle that was thrown my way. That being said it is not just swimming that makes me feel more peaceful but the core essence of H20 itself. 60% of our bodies are made up of water and in that 60% is an overwhelming need to leave the mundane normality of land behind and be at one with myself and H20. In the past swimming ( both in the sea and pool) has helped me re-energize but when it came to de-stressing I had not found a method of escape until now. Queue Floatworks, a high specification float centre situated in ST George’s Wharf that uses I-sopod flotation tanks to relax and refuel the body and mind.Since 1993 Floatworks has combined cutting edge technology with holistic ‘therapy’ in a sequestered location to elevate our levels of dopamine and endorphins. My struggles with anxiety and depression are well documented and having fought a four year battle in silence I blocked off hope of ever finding my ‘happy thoughts’ again until I began blogging and was honest with myself and others. The idea of a flotation experience to me denoted that it was time to take care of myself and forget about what other people thought I should do and say. Because lets face it, who is there to judge you in a flotation pod apart from yourself? I knew that it was time to let go and reap the benefits of Floatworks.
Set in the peaceful tranquility of ST George’s Wharf I attended Saturday’s launch party with the need to challenge personal boundaries in mind. After a brief introduction to one half of director duo Chris , photographer Mads and assistant Marianna I was taken through to the lockers where Jack gave me a brief rundown of what to expect from the experience and handed me a little placard to read. The session runs 60 minutes and you have a designated locker which you can store your clothes and bags in, while in a cabinet next to the locker are shelves stacked with shelves and towels. I must admit walking into the pod room and seeing the flotation tank was what I would call an out of this world experience. Prior to my tutorial and talk a lady was speaking to me about the tank but kind of freaked me out because she said that there was a lid to close the tank and I was a little worried. Ever since I was a little girl I have had severe claustrophobia especially if I am trapped in a small, unknown space or there are too many people around me. But I needn’t have worried; At 8ft 6 long by 5ft 6 wide, there is plenty of space to maneuver and feel secure in my own little water bubble. It was like my dream of becoming a mermaid was coming true and while I might not have been in the ocean the pod allowed me to reconnect with myself in a way I did not think possible. After entering the pod room I was told that 10 minutes of music would come on while I prepared for my ‘flotation experience’ and I had the option of using the shower before and after the use of the pod. After taking a few selfies and snapping my followers I entered the realm of the unknown, my imaginary scepter at the ready. Closeted in your own personal space there is the option of either wearing a swimsuit or nothing at all and although the practitioners recommend being naked to feel the full benefits of the flotation experience I chose to stay in my Gypsea Swimwear bikini. I have never felt confident in my own skin even when it is just me because I was teased for how small I was but I am hoping that the more I float the more I get used to relaxing in my ‘own skin’.
The medicinal and holistic benefits of using a flotation tank is well documented but remember all experiences differ on the individuals ability ( or inability in my case) to relax. For me once I entered the water and tested the depth and feel of the pod the experience was rather surreal. After a few minutes closing and opening my eyes and focusing on leveling my breathing I reached over and closed the lid expecting to have a full blown panic attack but there was nothing and I felt safe as houses. What was more difficult was finding a position to relax in and minimize or reduce my chronic pain but it was easier said than done. I must have spent at least 20 minutes struggling to balance out the pain but once I found a position that worked for me it was game on. For me I ignored the advice on the placard that tells you not support your head – because honestly it was too painful to not support it- and put my arms behind my head while I closed my eyes. After a while I turned off the lights but got a little spooked so I turned it back on again and focused on my breathing once more. Once my breathing was under control I turned off the light and felt more relaxed, although I couldn’t stop myself thinking I was able to make them slower and less evasive, a technique I am hoping to adopt to help me sleep.
A word of advice though, when applying the Vaseline at the beginning please remember to coat all open wounds. Stupidly I had forgotten I had threaded my eyebrows and lip earlier in the day and the salt water made the wounds sting. Oh and never put your hand in your eye unless you want to feel like you have just done chili shots because I must have spent 5 minutes blindly switching on the light and reaching for the towel to stop the burn.That being said post-burn I did feel more zen than I had done in a long time and I realized that there was a very good reason why I was finding it so hard to relax; I always felt like I was second best and this made me determined to work hard and excel at anything I put my mind to. My brain is constantly generating ideas and it has put a ‘block’ on my ability to relax because I have conditioned myself to stay up late and get up early without a thought for my personal health. I am not condoning my poor self-care but it would explain why I was unable to switch off even in a designated ‘Me Time’ space.
In the last 10 minutes the soothing strums of Floatworks CD filled the room signalling that it was time to take a shower. The energetic mix of coconut and ginseng ( at a guess) completed the experience and I may have run over my time slot by 10 minutes oops. I was then taken into a hair and makeup zone where I freshened up before heading into the ‘Chill Out Zone’. Given a choice between herbal tea or freshly pressed juice I chose a soothing cinnamon and strawberry tea, with other options including green tea and jasmine. Then the party began and some lovely staff members came in to keep me and other guests entertained and the stories were fascinating. I was truly ‘chilled out’ in the chill out zone and it was so lovely to be able to have such great conversation with complete strangers like co-director Ed, original founder Tim, the chilled Jake and other flotation worshipers Maura, Jane and Karl. From Ancient Egyptian History to politics a quick 1 hour & a half passed before I realized I needed to get to my next event and was truly touched when I was offered a complimentary visit with a friend on the 23rd April.
With the addition of a goody bag ( containing 1 KG of Epsom Salts, lavender oil and a protein bar) and the promise of another visit my spirits was lifted and I felt more at ease. It did not however make me sleep any better but according to Ed who recommends that I try meditation, the more times you float the easier it will be to relax. All I can say is roll on the 23rd for the mermaid wants her throne back!
Would you or have you tried a flotation experience before?
Photography- Jumanna Khanom Kimono- Warehouse Boots-Public Desire Hat& Belt- Primark Bikini- Triangl Sunglasses- Quay Australia