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The notion of weightlessness is the premise of the flotation tank
The reception at Yoga City was nicely decorated with deep armchairs around tables and a bar at one side of the room with snacks for the yoga class that had just finished. There was incense burning giving the room a relaxing feel.
I came to the place on assignment from GUIDEPOST and was greeted by the owner of City Yoga, William. He led me to the room where the flotation tank is kept. The room followed the tranquil theme that was established in the reception. There were various candles spread around and the lights were low.
The room was prepared ready for my appointment in the tank. Two neatly folded towels had been thoughtfully laid out for me along with a swimming hat and a pair of earplugs. William explained the procedure for the floatation tank, pointing out the buttons to turn off the lights in the tank, to close and open the lid, and finally the alarm button should anything go awry. He then left me to my 50-minute experience
Once I had showered and swim-hatted up, I climbed into the tank. The tank is wider and longer than a usual bath and mostly covered by a lid. The water was heated to skin temperature so it becomes unnoticeable after relaxing for a while, creating the illusion of weightlessness. The feeling of zero gravity is enhanced by the high concentration of Epsom salts in the water, like the Dead Sea, making your body float naturally without having to try.
The notion of weightlessness is the premise of the flotation tank. You are supposed to lie still, relaxing in the darkened environment for fifty minutes. As a natural fidget, lying in the tank was difficult for me; arguably, playing soothing music would allow people to relax quicker and easier. However, I soon became accustomed to the environment and found the experience calming and soothing. I found it helped recuperate from a hectic and tiring weekend away which was what kind of weekend I had. I was able to lay back and be left with my thoughts, whilst my muscles were completely relaxed, leaving me both mentally and physically de-stressed at the conclusion of the fifty minutes.
It also took some time adapting to the idea of not having to support my head. In the beginning, I was actively trying to hold my head up, I suppose out of natural instinct. However, the people at City Yoga had thought of this and provided an inflatable neck pillow, similar to the ones used for traveling, for their customers. This allowed me to gradually become used to the idea that I do not need to support myself in the water. Eventually, I was able to lie in the tank without the neck support.
The only part of the experience I would warn future users of is getting the salt in your eyes, up your nose or in your mouth. I was warned, but I did not heed the advice. In my fidgeting start, I managed to do all these, and due to the high salt content, it was quite painful. Thankfully, William had thoughtfully left a squirty bottle of water on a peg in the tank for such emergencies so I wasn’t in pain for too long.
After coming out of the tank, I had a quick conversation with William. He explained how the tank was useful for multiple problems and different types of people. Apparently, people who suffer from sleep problems such as insomnia use flotation tanks. This is because the tank allows them to completely relax in a way that a bed cannot, so I was not alone in feeling revived then. People can also use the tank with skin conditions such as eczema, providing they do not have broken skin, as the natural properties of the salt are believed to help with the irritation.
Many Olympic athletes have found the blessings of the tank. Carl Lewis, one of the tank pioneers, used a tank before his Olympic gold winning long jump in 1988. Floating helps muscles to recover quicker than other methods because the muscles are relaxed. In addition, the floating takes pressure off joints. William tells me that the floatation tanks have become so popular in the sports community that entire teams have begun to use them.
The only people that are not recommended to use the tanks are those that have recently shaved and people with open wounds because the salt will sting.
I worked through City Yoga’s comments book and it was page after page of praise for the tank. The comments varied in length from the basic ‘that was great, I will be back’ to half-page messages. Clearly, I am not the only satisfied customer City Yoga has received and at only €35 a time I can understand the huge amount of raves the tank is receiving.
C/ Artistas, 43
91 553 4751
91 025 9233
685 549 906
Featured image/Floatguru, CC BY-SA3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Flotation tank/Schappelle, CC BY-SA4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Disclaimer: Photos are used here solely as illustration and have nothing to do with City Yoga.
Toni lives in Horsham, West Sussex, is passionate about adventure and travel which she started at a very early age. “I have been to many countries including China,” she says. “Spain is one of my favourite countries where I’ve been in and out over the years.”
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