I am warmly welcomed to an afternoon of relaxation at Theta State Float Centre by the most gracious of hosts, Chayanun, who greets me with a sunny disposition before ushering me to recline, sit and sip some tea and prepare for a wonderful experience ahead.
So whilst I drink my organic four-flower tisane – a steeped symphony of rose, jasmine, chrysanthemum and butterfly pea with an aqua blue tint that echoes the details in the décor – I listen intently to the benefits of the tea tincture and what is to follow. I’m guided through the ritual, from showering to submerging, easing expectations and reservations on this sensory journey into the unknown. This is a spiritual, mental and physical exploration – an alpha omega adventure chartering frontiers to a Theta state of mind.
I slip into bamboo slippers, pass through the holistic eco spa lounge, and am gently guided to the inner chambers of my flotation room. A futuristic ambiance, dressing table of accoutrements, crisp cotton bath sheets and a shower await. As I settle in, Chayanun assures me to relax and relish in the experience, dissipating any lasting doubts before leaving the inner sanctum.
The organic pearlescent pod, a big beautiful oyster shell, is open, inviting and filled with an aquatic rainbow of morphing colours. As each colour evolves, in a metamorphic rainbow of ruby, amethyst and jade, so does my mood.
I cast a cautious toe in and then the other, curiously close the lid and all outside contact, and immediately feel the unquestioning weightlessness of gravity as I submerge. The effects of one ton of mineral magnesium sulphate salts buoy me to the surface. I relax my bare body back, my muscles melting in the warmth, experiencing the unfamiliar space-like sensation of zero gravity for the first time. Wearing pink pocket-size ear plugs keeps out water but not the melodious music of faraway flutes and chimes soothing my senses, lulling me off to distant lands.
Prior to my plunge, I harvested stories and studies from Michael Hutchisons’ The Book of Floating, learning of unique spiritual, mental and physical benefits. When energy is focused inwards, creativity and intuition is heightened. And if you’re spiritually inclined, you can increase your connection to a higher power. It’s easier to focus inwards when outside senses are deprived, like sound, light, touch and electromagnetic radio waves that permeate our lives.
The benefits of sensory isolation and deprivation include reduced stress (cortisol), released endorphins and resting the unconscious mind by 90 percent. Afterwards, I attest to yielding an increased mental energy for several days to come. Floating’s a fairly new discovery with the potential depth of understanding unfathomed and unfolding; it seems the benefits are infinite and we have only just scratched the surface.
The water temperature, synchronising with my body temperature, melts my senses and surroundings, causing me to forget where I am. The Epsom salts ease and invigorate, the parasympathetic nervous system takes over and I experience the “theta brain” wave frequency.
But before long, beckoning and bringing me back I hear faraway flutes and Tibetan bell chimes that cue my flotation journey ending. The music fades into the distance and Jacuzzi bubbles motion me to wake. Poised, I open the pod to the outer world, clean and serene I step out.
I make my transition to the eco-lounge where a tisane tonic and a bite-size, jewel-coloured nutriment await, pondering a quote by anthropologist and structuralist Claude Levi-Strauss, “Was that what travel meant?” as he questioned if travel suggested an exploration of the deserts of memory rather than trodden paths.