GO FLOAT YOURSELF: How Floatation Can Supercharge Health and Performance
No, that’s not some overly polite person finding an alternative to the F-word. Instead it’s a slogan used by a growing crowd of people with a secret weapon in their lives, something they do which simply isn’t understood until it is…and then it’s irresistible: Floating.
In today’s hyper-stressful, oversubscribed, overbooked, overstimulated world, peace and quiet is at a premium…but how many of us force ourselves to sit down with a book in a quiet room and still find our minds racing and body aching? What if there was something out there which took us to a state away from–or beyond–our normal existence, to a state which some say is as close as it gets to going back to the womb or taking psychadelic drugs?
NBA MVP Stephon Curry calls it, “just a chance to put aside all the stress and be with myself and all the shots I want to make in the next game”, but what is floating exactly?
When one brings up the topic of floating to the uninitiated, the response is sometimes, “is that when you’re locked in a tank? No thanks”, so let’s clear a few things up. Yes, floating involves closing oneself (there’s no lock, guys!) in a space which creates a stimulation-free environment, but it’s well known to NOT trigger claustophobia.
Put way better than I could explain, Float Culture NZ co-owner Anton Kuznetsov says, “Your body de-stresses so profoundly in the tank, it gives it that rare opportunity to focus on itself. Rather than focus on the world, the body turns inwards, freeing us from all the attention we spend on our environment – hearing things, touching things. In the tank, all those experiences are cut off.”
The basics: Climb into pod which looks much like a large bathtub filled with magnesium and epsom salts which cause you to float, weightless, effortless, at the surface. Laying back completely, the water laps gently around the ears and shoulders, and the legs bob along at the surface. As someone with clinical chronic lumbo-pelvic pain, I can say that this feeling alone is wonderful. When you can’t feel your body, the brain has a heck of a lot more energy to devote to healing and thinking. Add earplugs and total darkness to the equation, and you have peace. Nothing to feel, see or hear but what’s in your head. If this sounds intimidating, there are options of music and a soft light an easy reach away. When you’ve got uninterrupted time to focus to yourself, good things happen. I am a notorious scatterbrain, always putting too much on my plate and running around between things constantly, yet during my first float, I was able to meditate on and organize four topics which were very pertinent and stressful to me at the time, make an action plan for each, and calmly force myself to repeat those messages until they were etched in my brain. This happened without excess effort, due to the lack of distraction. For example, which of the following sounds easier?
I should email that guy about that thing, and say — did I remember to go grocery shopping? Shoot, my hammies are tight today…oh look, I’ve got a snapchat…oh hi Bob, sure I’ll join you in the coffee room…wait, something about emailing that guy?
I should email that guy about that thing and say — did I remember to go grocery shopping? Yes I did. OK. I should email and say ____ . Cool. Repeat.
Simple as that, folks.
I float at Float Culture NZ, based in Auckland City’s Grafton neighborhood. From the warm and helpful receptionists to the amazing painted & themed rooms (Forest, Lake, Cosmic, etc), to the procedure itself, Float Culture operates more professionally and makes the client more comfortable than one could ever dream of. Immaculately clean float rooms feature showers packed with complimentary top-of-the-line spa products and all the bits and bobs (vaseline for small cuts, earplugs, etc) you need for an awesome float. The host explains floating procedures brilliantly and has all the FAQs at the ready for nervous first-timers. Snacks and drinks are available in the lobby. Your choice of music is available, and upon climbing in the pod a light and intercom are just an arms length away.
The experience sounds cool, of course, but how did I feel afterwards? Honestly like never before. Imagine the feeling you have waking up after a great night’s sleep to a sunny day, multiply by five, and add a dimension I simply can’t explain. Remember in Harry Potter, the potion which made you have an awesome day? Yeah, something like that (minus the dragons). “Energetic calm” is a paradox which is accurate in this case, but also does not do it justice. You’ll simple have to try floating for yourself!
If you are an athlete, especially an elite one with the pressures of the world around you causing constant distraction, this is a HUGE opportunity to create a better headspace, not to mention the many speculated physiological benefits. I will be pushing all of my athletes to make this a part of their lifestyle.
After my first float, I feel like I’m in it for life–am genuinely excited to see how this tool becomes an essential part of my journey towards a more effective, robust, confident and content Jake. I will be an ambassador to Float Culture this year, documenting my experiences as I seek to work on myself during these distraction-free opportunities, so watch this space for more floating reports in the near future. In the meantime, book yourself a float HERE.