HOW TO DESTRESS: FLOATWORKS //
Our Marketing/Social media Manager, Talilla, is on a mission to get the best night's sleep in London. Meditation, yoga and Headspace, she’s tried it all. Her next stop is the latest zen hangout, Floatworks.
You’ll usually find me flying around the studio behind a camera, phone or laptop, capturing the the latest activity behind the scenes at 1R. Being constantly connected and ‘online’ I find it increasingly difficult to switch off and get a good 7 hours' sleep. I’m usually running on around 4-5 hours, which even for me is starting to take its toll.
1R instructor Kim suggested I try floating. I’d seen ‘Floatworks’ popping up on social media over the last few months as the latest fad. However I was slightly suspicious about how beneficial it would actually be- that, combined with the the thought of lying in a closed salt pod for an hour, meant I was yet to give it a go. However I’m always one for trying something new, and definitely willing to do anything to get a few more hours on the pillow.
The Floatworks studio is based next to Vauxhall underground station and I was greeted by the lovely reception staff, who took me through the process of floating and what I could expect from the experience. I was taken into the deep relaxation room where I spent a good hour chatting to Ed Hawley, one of the co-founders. He explained that the mission of Floatworks is to help people reach their full potential and live happier, healthier lives. They believe that the mind-body connection is key to achieving this, and by using cutting-edge technology, credible, evidence-based science and a positive, caring approach they can deliver an experience that represents the present and future of wellness.
Ed, like myself, struggles to sleep and is not a natural yogi, but after being recommended floating by fellow co-founder Chris Plowman (who used it for his back pain) found his first float to be an enlightening experience. He was also sold on the strength of the research and both bored of their city jobs, decided to go into business and set up the UK’s leading flotation centre. Ed soothed my claustrophobic worries and urged me to try to spend the full hour in the pod to really immerse myself in the experience. I was taken down to my private room, given slippers, a towel, earplugs, floating tips and then left alone to begin my float.
I entered the water, closed the pod and let my body weight disappear into the epsom salt-dense water. For a first-time floater the sensation was bizarre. I had to consciously remind myself to let my neck relax and for the water to support each of my limbs. The whole process of entering the pod felt like a scene out of the Matrix, which of course sent my mind into its usual over-drive, and I had to remind myself to concentrate on my breathing and to relax into the process. The float begins with 10 minutes of soft music combined with gentle aqua lighting, before everything is completely switched off and you’re left in total darkness. This was the weirdest sensation, as for the next 60 minutes, your senses are left to relax. No smell, sight, sound, taste, or touch (just the sensation of the warm water around your body). I still struggle to describe the experience as it was nothing like I’ve ever done before. The first 15 minutes I felt restless, trying to get into the most comfortable position and stop my mind racing over the work I needed to finish that week.
But before I knew it, I must have drifted off as I was suddenly jolted awake from a few involuntary muscle spasms (which Ed explained was due to exercising earlier that day). I zoned in and out of memories that were totally random, yet apparently this is a common experience of floating.
Suddenly the soothing music came back on, and just like that my 60 minutes were over. I couldn’t believe it had gone so fast, and although I’m not sure I fell asleep, I felt a new wave of calm flow over me as I showered off the salt and applied the various aromatherapy creams.
I’m heading back for my second session next week, as they recommended once you learn to start relaxing and understand how to float, the experience is even more beneficial. That evening I tried to fully switch off from anything digital and relax my mind. I felt total calmness that night which even continued into the next morning.
For those of you who are still not swayed, here's the science side of things…
Research carried out by neuropsychologist Justin Feinstein at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in America has proven that floating significantly reduces activity in the part of the brain known as the amygdala, which controls our innate fight or flight response to real or perceived threats. This in turn helps to reduce the production of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone – high levels of which have been linked to a host of health issues, including weight gain, heart attacks and depression. Floating also offers immediate physical relief by removing stress, allowing your body to assume a fully natural position, which helps with blood flow.
After a hard 1Rebel session earlier that day, the float definitely helped to relax my muscles and I left feeling looser and both physically and mentally soothed.
As a relatively niche treatment and championed by a devoted fan base within the wellness community, floating is largely overlooked by the mainstream. Until now. All I want to do is get back into my little pod, where I have no option but to RELAX and let my mind run away. Trust me, these guys know what they’re doing.
Give Floatworks a try for yourself and get 20% off their services with the code 1REBEL. You won't regret it.