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Since the inception of IR last year, there have been several requests for coverage of Pangbourne as there are a number of independent businesses operating there. Here’s the first instalment…

Last week I was invited to join 2017 Muddy Stiletto award winning, British Rowing Associate Partner, Floating Point for a flotation session and I jumped at the chance! You might not have heard of Floating Point or indeed of flotation centres in general and I was certainly in that camp before I headed down. If you’re the same, here’s a quick introduction to flotation therapy:

  • Yes, it’s what it sounds like, you float in water
  • It’s used to aid the body in a number of ways, including:
    • Chronic pain relief
    • Post-exercise rejuvenation (many athletes have regular flotation sessions)
    • Stress relief / mental clarity
    • Sleep improvement for insomniacs
    • And so many more
  • You can do this if you’re claustrophobic
  • You can do this if you can’t swim

So what happens during a flotation session?

Prior to my session I had a chat with Michael, one of the centre owners and he ran me through the experience before we got started and then I tried it for myself. This is what a typical flotation session is like at Floating Point, I have no idea about other centres. (There are no other centres nearby, including neighbouring counties so people travel from afar for this utterly amazing experience.)

Everything is about you and what will make you feel relaxed. My first big decision was what music to have on during the session. You can choose to have music throughout or for just a few minutes at the beginning and then again to rouse you at the end. I opted for throughout as I was nervous, being both claustrophobic and uncomfortable putting my head in water. My music of choice was a thunderstorm; I find the sound of heavy rain incredibly relaxing.

Then Michael showed me to the flotation room and guided me through how everything works. You have your own private room and you can lock the door from the inside. This means that you have the option to leave the lid of your pod either completely or partially open, perfect for those who aren’t as comfortable in confined spaces. You are in control of how open your pod is and you can change it from inside the pod at any time.

i-sopod (2)
The Pod, or i-sopod as it’s officially known

There are lights within the pod and you are in control of those too, so you can create an environment that suits you. There’s also a neck pillow and a small one of those polystyrene-like floating rods you get in children’s pools so you can immerse your head as much or little as you please. Ear plugs are provided (decent ones), plus there’s a shower complete with natural hair and body wash products and two clean towels. It’s like a super-short mini-break!

Your session starts when the motion sensor in the room stops detecting movement, which suggests you’re in the pod. At this point, the room lights go off and the music starts. The water is heated to 35.5°C and contains a high volume of Epsom salts. What this means is the temperature of the water is the average temperature of your skin so you don’t notice it. The salts provide the ability for you to float easily. The combination of these two things means that many people get in, lie back and don’t remember anything from that moment until the moment they wake up at the end.

As it was my first time, I kept the lights on the whole time and the lid open for the first 10 minutes or so. I also played around with my float position, before eventually relaxing enough to put my head back properly and submerge my ears. I literally can’t believe that I closed the lid and managed to lie back with my ears in the water. Rather than getting more and more worked up about my fears, something about the relaxing environment combined with being in full control of what happened in the room made me forget them and enjoy the freedom of just being.

Wise Ape

After my float, once I had showered and dressed, I was taken to the relaxation room and provided with the herbal tea menu and a pot of fresh fruit sorbet to bring me back to reality gently. As well as teas you’ll have heard of before, Floating Point offer Wise Ape teas. These adaptogenic teas help the body react to react and heal more effectively; I had the Coconut Warrior tea and it was delicious. Seriously tasty and I loved the feeling that I was helping heal my body from the inside out.

Who uses the centre regularly?

As already mentioned, athletes are regular users of the centre, including the British Rowing team. However, there are lots of ordinary people who are struggling with chronic pain, mental health issues or simply who are feeling a bit burned out and want an hour of complete solitude and relaxation. Michael and Tina who own the centre found out about flotation therapy in another life when they both had challenging jobs in London and were looking for a way to clear their minds. It had such a profound impact on them that they’re now sharing the experience with others! You can read some client testimonials on the Floating Point Facebook page to get a real feel for the impact of this therapy.

How much does this cost?

Memberships are available for those who visit the centre regularly but it’s likely you’ll want to try it first and pay-as-you-go options are available too. It’s £40 for your first float session and that will include the full hour flotation session I have described above.

If you’re thinking about trying this as a consequence of reading this article, I suggest you get in touch with Floating Point and they’ll be able to answer any further questions you have:

Floating Point Float Centre
Bourne House
Horseshoe Road

0118 327 2490 /