Floatworks and Flotation Therapy | Review
Through my job, I was lucky enough to be invited to have a free float at Floatworks in Angel. So, on Halloween. Whilst everyone else was getting drunk, trick or treating or generally Halloweening, I was floating in a giant space pod in the pitch black.
It was glorious.
What is Floatworks?
Floatworks is a company based in London that offers floatation therapy.
Floatation therapy is a form of meditation and relaxation that can help soothe your mind and muscles. You lie on your back in a pod filled with warm water – that matches your body temperature – and half a tonne of Epsom salt. The results being that you float and feel weightless and have no sense of touch, so it literally feels like you’re floating on air.
You can choose to have the light on or off and each session begins with 10 minutes of ambient music to get you in the right frame of mind. After that it is completely silent, and if you want completely dark.
If like me, you choose to lay in the dark with no music then you are essentially sensory-deprived, as you will lose feeling in your body the longer you float. This has the effect of not only being extremely meditative but also very relaxing.
What are the benefits of floating?
According to research floating can help reduce stress, increase your mental awareness and help you to sleep better. For me, I went for pure relaxation but ended up having very profound thoughts – not something I was expecting.
I went floating at 7:30 pm at Floatworks Angel. I was met by a reception team who signed me, instructed me to take off my shoes and who then showed me around. The building itself is very small and looks kind of like a salon when you’re outside.
There was a relaxation lounge with a few sofas and armchairs and access to free herbal teas and water. Then there was the relaxation room which is darker, has more cushions and on-the-floor seating for proper relaxation. I hung out in here whilst I waited for my pod to be ready.
When it was time to go in I was collected and taken through to the pod rooms.
The Pod Room
In each pod room, you get a pod – obvs! – a bench and hanger to place your clothes and items. As well as a neck support, some earplugs, and Vaseline to cover any cuts or grazes you have – saltwater stings!
You also have a shower that you have to use before entering the pod, specifically to get any make-up or residue off your skin. After all, the pod is not a bath.
Once I was told everything the team member left me to it and I locked my door. Each room is private, and no one will enter unless you specifically call them with the emergency button located inside the pod.
When the pod began to play music that was a signal that the session had begun. Prior to that I had time to undress, shower and get the earplugs in.
It’s recommended that you float completely naked, as clothes can get heavy with the salt and therefore affect your feeling of weightlessness. However, since it was my first time, I opted to leave my bikini bottoms on.
The music began to play as I was in the shower. I quickly finished removing my make-up and taking off my jewellery and hopped on in.
The pod can be opened or closed at any point. So you have complete control over getting in or out. I’m not claustrophobic in situations like these, only when there are a ton of people around. I had no trouble shutting the pod lid and getting straight to the floating.
What it feels like
At first, it’s a strange sensation. I felt a little seasick and had the even odder thought of ‘this is what it must feel like for foetus’ floating in the womb’. Not something I thought I would be thinking about… But there we are.
You lay feet first, with your head by the top of the pod. And you have a button on your left to shut off the lights and a button on your right to call a team member in case of emergency. You also have a spray bottle of regular water to spray on your face if you get any salt water in your eyes. Again, that will sting.
If anyone is worried about whether you will float, I guarantee that you will float.
Floating is no issue here – thank god, since this is floatation therapy. The second you lay your legs out and lie down you hover above the floor and start drifting around.
The only negative is that you occasionally bump into the walls.
You’d bump against them, either with my feet or my elbows. This would bring me out of any illusion of weightlessness I was going through at the time. Also, if you push yourself away you will immediately bump into the other wall. Not because there’s no room, there is plenty of room, but because the salt makes it a lot easier to move around the pod. A least more so than a regular bath or swimming pool. The best solution to this issue was just to let it be. Within seconds of bumping into something you would move away again naturally.
Since it was my first time, I decided to use a halo – as kind of supportive neck and head pillow – to relax my head against. I have very bad posture and almost instantly felt my shoulders begin to ache when I tried not to use it. This support allowed me to properly relax my head, neck and shoulders. And with the earplugs, I had no worries about getting water in my ear so I could entirely suppress my head in the water which was lovely.
I honestly can’t tell you much about my experience of floating as I’m pretty sure I fell asleep.
It was certainly the quickest hour of my life and I was incredibly relaxed throughout it. Since I’ve haven’t done meditation, I did struggle to quieten my mind. In the moments I was lucid I was thinking about my grocery lists and my plans for the weekends. But later I began to have more profound thoughts.
I started to think about what I was doing with my life, where I wanted to go next, what I wanted to achieve. It was therapeutic, if not entirely relaxing. But after these portions of thoughts, I would quickly move back to focusing on my breathing and drifting in and out of sleep.
When the music to signal that I had five minutes left of my floatation therapy began I thought I had only been in the pod for maybe thirty minutes at most. The hour went by so quickly.
There is no rush to exit and get cleaned up when you leave the pod.
You can use the whole remaining five minutes to come too or do as I did and sit up and relax in the pod but wake yourself up a little.
When I was ready, I lifted the lid and got out and had a relaxingly long, and hot shower. They offer complimentary shampoo, conditioner and body wash so you can get all the salt off of your skin. As well as two towels to dry your body and your hair. I stayed in my pod room for about half an hour after my session, cleaning, dressing and getting to soak it all in.
As soon as I was ready, I left the pod room and walked to the Hair and Mirrors room. This is where there are hairdryers, straighteners, moisturiser and other amenities free to use. I dried and straightened my hair and rubbed my skin with some moisturiser. Afterwards I got some herbal tea and returning to the relaxation room.
When I asked how long I could stay in the relaxation room they said they closed at 11pm. There is no time limit where customers must get in and get out. The whole idea of Floatworks is to relax. There is no rush, no pressure and absolutely no wrong way to do things.
My final thoughts
It was such a calming and unique experience, and one I would be very happy to repeat.
There was another gentleman who came in at the same time as me. He aid that he floated once a week but would soon be increasing this to twice. When asked why he said that once a week was mental maintenance but twice a week was development. I thought this was a very wanky answer to give until I got in a pod myself. Now I know exactly what he means.
To experience floatation therapy, book an appointment either online or over the phone with Floatworks Angel or Floatworks Vauxhall. It’s £55 a session or £40 per session if you’re a member. You can also buy up to four sessions in bulk for £180. It’s definitely worth trying.