Confessions of a first time floater

Floatation tanks were big in the 90s. Somewhere in California, around the same time that people discovered cous cous, scrunchies and Murphy Brown, it was a popular pastime to spend an hour or so in a tiny capsule, floating in 8 inches of warm salty water, in complete darkness, like you’re basically back in the womb.

Now I’m paraphrasing, however the art of floating, (real name) sensory deprivation therapy, has always slightly fascinated me.

I became a first time ‘floater’ while living in London around ten years ago when my brother recommended it to me. I was intrigued, (mostly because this was extremely out of character behaviour from my brother) but overall all I got from the experience was darkness (literally) and a mild salt rash.

A decade later and I find myself in Bondi Junction, a part of Sydney that the 90s never forgot and the natural home of the Bondi Junction massage and Float Centre. As a committed aqua blogger I’m willing to give this float thing one more crack. Billed as the ‘ultimate way to relax for EVERYONE’ (note, an unsubstantiated claim) this time I was determined to relax, even if I drown in the process.

A flyer tells me that originally developed in the 1960s ‘floating’ is used for relaxation, stress, sports injuries and when used over a regular basis can even shift stubborn, and negative behavioural traits.

This seals the deal, as I recommend to the Travelling lawyer he also tries it out, hoping maybe it might float away his compulsive messiness.

He seems anxious as I describe to him the process. “Yes it’s bigger than a coffin,” I explain. “No you obviously can’t take your phone in.” I catch him swigging a beer on our way out the door.

“For good luck,” he says, looking sheepish.

“First time floaters?” The extra chirpy receptionist asks. I smugly tick the ‘experienced box’. The Travelling Lawyer looks even more anxious as he is asked to fill in a health and safety form.

We’re shown to our respective pods where we are explained the drill by a earnest staff member. The water temperature is heated to exactly your body temperature, the high concentration of epsom salts makes it impossible to sink, you don’t need to bring anything but a smile 🙂 More raised eyebrows from the Travelling Lawyer.

Earplugs in, towel within reaching distance and floating pillow at the ready I’ve got this float thing covered.

I’m inside, it’s dark and warm as I’m nodding off. …Serenity interrupted. Next door I hear a loud splashing of water and movement as the Travelling Lawyer moans about salt water in his eyes. His hatch opens then closes, opens then closes. I try and tune him out and switch off my brain. “Need to pay that power bill, is it true that MacGyver got fat? I wonder what’s happening with Cliff Richarrdd.” Sleep. Success. Relaxation 1, crazy mind 0.

At the end of a very fast hour my body feels heavy but completely relaxed. The Travelling Lawyer looks pretty much the same.

Post float there are cookies, tea and peanuts in the waiting room as I try and prolong my state of relaxation with a apre float massage.

Sensory deprivation therapy tick and this time it did float my boat.

Cost: $45 for a one hour session

High points: The water temperature – not too hot or too cold, floating like you are basically in the dead sea, that is a vertical tardis. It can be thirsty work, so the herbal tea and cookies really hit the spot.

Low points: I’m a little claustrophic so I did struggle at times.

For your closest float provider check out

The float tardis

The float tardis

float book

Do not read while floating

5 thoughts on “Confessions of a first time floater

  1. This sounds like such a different concept to try but may be a bit claustrophobic, I feel. You are not totally submerged are you? Haha…

  2. Hi, nice read. This sounds like a typically unique first float experience.
    Everyone has a different outcome depending on how you go into it.
    Ideally you would try to do three in a couple of weeks to get the cumulative effect and learn what is best for you.
    I own on the Gold Coast, and we suggest that after 3 floats we will have you hooked.

    If you are ever up this way please let me know and we would be happy to get you in for a float.

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