Floating – what’s it all about?

Do you need to de-stress, chill out, take some time for yourself?

It might be time to try floating!

Floating is becoming more popular as people look for different ways to take some time out from their busy lives and to relax. With the ever-increasing turn to technology it can be hard to switch off.

What is it?

Isolation tanks were first invented in the 1950s by Dr John C Lilly when he was studying the nature of human consciousness.

They’ve come a long way since those days when you had to use breathing apparatus inside!

Also known as pods, each one is filled with epsom salt (about 500kg!) and water which allows the body to float. The water is heated to skin temperature to simulate weightlessness.

It is known as sensory deprivation as once you’re inside the soundproof tank and the welcome music stops, the lights go off and it’s just you and your thoughts.

A look inside a pod.


What are the benefits?

Benefits can be physical, mental and overall wellbeing.

Floating can (among other things):

  • increase energy
  • alleviate stress
  • speed up injury recovery
  • reduce muscle and joint inflammation
  • improve athletic performance
  • improve alertness, mental clarity and creativity
  • help you relaaaaaaax (I may have added a few extra ‘a’s in there!)

(Info taken from Tally Health and Rest House)

The experience

There are many centres around Melbourne that now offer this service. I’ve been to two: Tally Health in South Melbourne and Rest House in Hampton East.

Side question: Are there any out in the outer east? I’m wondering if there is somewhere closer to the Yarra Valley that offers it?

After arriving, you are shown to your own room, which has a pod, and a shower so you can remove any make-up, hair products, etc.

You put in ear plugs to prevent getting salt water in your ears (although both times I have had to wash my ears out thoroughly after!).

You can wear bathers but they can get heavy with the salt.

You can have the pod open or shut, but for full effect, shut the lid! There is a button inside that can call for help if you need it.

At Rest House, they use the Dreampod Version 2 (even the name sounds relaxing!), which has an inside lighting system with chakra colours that can be controlled with a button inside. They also have in-tank music which you can hear underwater.

The music fades out and then it’s just you and your thoughts. The first time I floated, I didn’t fall asleep. The second time, I did drift off. I’m not sure for how long, as time doesn’t really exist in there! But both times I have just had heaps of thoughts going through my head (which is generally me anyway). I do try to get into rhythmic breathing and try to focus on that.

I really enjoyed just being in there with no distractions. In everyday life, I am forever checking my phone, looking at news, it seems like I am always doing something. So it is good to be forced to do nothing. I don’t meditate a lot, but it’s something I really should do more of!

The music fades back in with five minutes to go, so you can get used to your surroundings again before you hop out (sad face). Both times I felt like the time went by really quickly. I could have stayed in longer!

After that you have another shower to get the salt solution off, and body wash, shampoo and conditioner is provided. One thing I really noticed was how soft my skin was afterward!

And then you get dressed and can chill out with a cup of tea on the couches.

The green plant wall at Rest House in Hampton East is aaaaamazing.

But floating is not for everyone. My first float experience a few months ago (at a Wellineux day retreat, more info on that coming soon!) was also amazing, but a few other people at the time said they found it a bit boring.

If you’re not used to being with your own thoughts or not having any outside stimuli for a period of time, I can see how that might be hard. But it’s just so relaxing!

Prices for one-off floats are generally around $70-80 but are cheaper if you buy a membership or float more often.

Have you been floating? Or how do you relax and unwind?

4 thoughts on “Floating – what’s it all about?

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