Not often I write about something that doesn’t involve some sort of exercise/pain/sweat on the blog, so I thought it was about time I did something that was focused a bit more on relaxing and recovery, however alien that may feel to me. Luckily the nice lot over at yue float in Wandsworth invited me over to test out their “float pods”.
“What the hell is a float pod?” I hear you shouting angrily at the screen. Well, let me tell you, I was doing exactly the same thing the other day when someone mentioned them to me. Only I shouted at them in person.
The answer is actually pretty simple. It’s basically a big bath thing that looks like the gaping maw of a huge white frog. Kind of. I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy stuff recently so this may be inadvertently coming out in my writing. I say gaping because the egg-shaped pod actually opens up into a lower bath section and an upper roof section. The inside of the bath fills up with epsom salt-infused water.
Once you’ve showered, you get into the pod and close it. Suddenly you’re on your own inside a big white pod for 40 minutes or so; ambient music playing and subtle lighting slowly changing. The water is just deep enough to allow you to complete float in the epsom salt water.
After about seven minutes the lights go off and the music disappears to leave you alone with nothing but your own thoughts, the only sound being the light lapping water as you bob about in the gravityless space and the only thing to look at an almost imperceptible light making its way through the odd tiny gap in the pod.
Did I like it?
Alright, I’ll level with you here. My head is a busy place. I generally have about ten things shooting around my mind at any one time. Switching off my thoughts is pretty much impossible. But to be honest I don’t want to turn them off, I like my head being busy and I’m fairly certain the point of yue float isn’t to clear your mind. I mean, you can if you want to, but you can still relax whilst thinking. Oh yeah, I also hate baths. I can generally spend about six minutes in them before I get bored and find something else to do.
The first sensation I had was “ooh, I’m floating, this is fun”, that was shortly followed by “let’s try and relax here”, and I did for a bit. Then I got a bit distracted and started thinking about an array of fleeting thoughts, none of which were either good or bad. Then, after what seems like about eight hours, I actually started thinking about useful stuff like plans for articles or new ideas for various projects. Sure I wasn’t in a state of mindful euphoria, but I was really focused on thinking about things that I seldom have time to do as I rush around London.
There’s was a five-minute section where I had a play around with floating in the pod and hit my head because I pushed too hard with my feet. That’s probably an isolated incident though and we won’t talk any more about it.
Is it worth doing?
If closing yourself off from the world and lying in a dark place, gently floating in calming waters, sounds like something you might like, then yeah, it’s a pretty impressive set-up. You literally can’t hear a thing – it is very relaxing. I definitely didn’t have any negative thoughts floating through my head for the whole experience.
For me, the benefit came from a whole hour of just thinking about stuff. I went to an event a while back where I ran on a distraction free running track in the dark for 25 minutes. I loved that experience because it made me think about my running really carefully for a while. In the pod you’re not actually doing anything, so my mind just focused on things I probably hadn’t given enough attention to before. By the end I did feel like I’d sorted a few things out in my head and came up with some ideas that I’d probably have been distracted from in a normal scenario. I’d probably do it again to just force myself to solve something or remove any distractions.
It’s also a really nice place to go. As well as an exemplary range of toiletries and various luxury bathroom paraphernalia, you can also plug in your own music. I did think about how nice it would be to stick on a Stephen Fry audio book – but that may actually defeat the point.
How much is it?
£50 for an hour.
Is it safe?
Good question. The image of the pod is a bit daunting, especially considering you end up in an enclosed space in the dark. Definitely a tricky one if you’re not good with enclosed spaces. I’m not a massive fan of them, but in reality the inside is actually pretty big and the large pod covering is really easy to push open. You can do it with one finger. There’s also a panic button in there as well in case you’re really worried.
You’re talked through the process when you get there as well, which helps to clear any worries. Apparently the high concentration of epsom salt water may also sting a bit if you get it in your eyes or have any open cuts. They give you a water spray inside the tank to clean your face if you need it (I used it a few times whilst flapping about), they also have some vaseline to cover any cuts so the water can’t get in. The water makes you float so much that your face doesn’t even go in the water though – I’m guessing that if you fell asleep you wouldn’t even be able to turn your head.
So yeah, it was a nice hour of contemplation and ignoring life’s problems. Apparently there’s a range of benefits including pain relief and mental health issues like anxiety and stress.
As well as the floating Pods yue float also have other relaxation option; a rather impressive looking massage chair, an infra red sauna and a mini meditation room. To find out more about what’s on offer and to book a session, head over to the website here.
Picture Credits: yue float