Here's everything to know about it, from how therapy works to its A-list following
Words by James Wong
One hour in the tank = eight hours deep sleep? You have just a week to do NYC and you’ve only just shaken off jet-lag come day six. Then it’s back to the UK and the whole tossing and turning in bed, fighting to keep your eyes open at the company meeting and dozing off at lunch routine starts its cycle.
How do international superstars hop from one time zone to the next without a triple espresso and four cans of Red Bull to kick start their morning? There are many possible answers but floatation therapy has recently risen as the stars’ secret weapon against jet lag.
Boasting a number of health benefits, floatation pods are popping up all over the world to cater to those in the know.
Edward Hawley of London’s Floatworks gives us the low down.
What is floatation therapy?
‘Floatation therapy is the practice of lying back on warm Epsom salt water inside a sensory deprivation pod, and gently drifting off into an extreme state of meditation for at least one hour’ says Ed, ‘sessions help eliminate stress and improve overall health and fitness. In terms of sleep, floatation significantly reduces anxiety which in turn leads to a calmer person that is much better at sleeping.’ Many practitioners even claim that one hour of sleep in the tank is equivalent to up to eight hours of deep sleep.
How does floatation therapy work?
Isolation pods are designed to block out all external distractions, so we can enter such a deep meditative state. You lie there in pitch black silence, while solution and air are heated to skin temperature, removing the senses of touch as it’s impossible to tell which parts of your body are in the water and which are not.
‘When we float our brain has no sensory inputs. This reduces activation levels in an area of the brain called the “salience network” which is responsible for processing inputs and diverting our attention to our sensory cortices. Floating reduces cortisol, brain activity and pressure on the joints and muscular skeletal system. So that aligns with the stress and strain of long haul travel and the lack of sleep.’ says Ed.
What else does floatation therapy do?
Floatation pods contain a super-saturated Epsom salt solution, which carries a number of healing properties. The solution acts as an exfoliate which is great for your skin, hair and nails. The salts soothe joint pain, ease stress and relax the body. Magnesium, which is commonly missing from our diets, is absorbed through the skin while sulphate eliminates toxins and helps our bodies to naturally detox. ‘In a nutshell, you’ll get out of the tank feeling silky smooth, relaxed and rejuvenated.’ Ed summarises.
The celeb following:
Supermodel fans include Elle Macpherson and Jessica Hart, and actress Naomie Harris swears by the practice when it comes to punishing overseas promotional schedules. ‘I’ve discovered that the only way to combat the effects of travelling is to immerse myself in a dark pod, filled with salt water and float for an hour,’ Harris told Balance. ‘I go straight there from the airport, but my dream is to have my own tank at home.’
‘We have a long list of musicians, actresses and athletes who come to Floatworks on a regular basis’, reveals Ed, ‘They comment that it puts them in a great headspace and promotes both focus and creativity at work, and of course, that it helps them fight the effects of international travel and late nights in the city.’