Float hard or float home

By Rob Jones

There are many ways to relax, some curl up in front of the TV with a glass of wine, others enjoy a leisurely jog, but now more and more people are floating around naked in pitch-black salt tanks after a stressful day at work. And that’s exactly how I spent one Monday evening.

Calm and relaxation for me are taboo terms, I’ve got the energy of a nine-year-old and total silence is my idea of hell. However, when I was offered a total sensory deprivation experience at The Float Spa in Hove I jumped at the chance.

floatspa3My knowledge of Floatation Therapy is as vast as the pod I would squeeze myself into, so I was understandably nervous. Those nerves were instantly dashed after a smiling welcome from Camille, the owner of the Spa, and Natalie, who was to become my salt slumber supervisor for the evening.

With complimentary cucumber water in hand I was given a quick tour of the facilities and then it was go time. Natalie showed me to a small white room with a table, shower and what was essentially a small white whale.

She proceeded to open its ‘mouth’ to reveal the salty abyss and purple mood lighting contained within. She then told me the dos and don’ts of ‘Floatation’. And I was able to ask the three questions on all of our lips:

  1. Is the water cleaned after every float?
  2. Will it hurt if the water gets in your eyes?
  3. Can I go in naked?

Camille had already informed me that all I had to bring with me was myself and a hairbrush. Needless to say, the answer was yes to each of those questions. My clothes were off, the lid was shut and ocean sounds surrounded me.

There are two lighting settings inside the pod, on or off. I opted for off because I wanted to completely submerse myself into the sensory deprivation side of the experience; it was float hard or float home. Unfortunately while trying to relax I splashed some of the salt water into my eye. I then scrambled around spraying myself in the face with spring water to sooth my aching peepers.


Rob Jones and his floatation tank

After that incident I did my best to re-relax and empty my mind of worries and thought. As you lay there listening to your heartbeat slow down you relax into the experience, you begin to realize why people do this. There are no distractions in the pod, nothing to fear, other than an eyeful of salt water.

I didn’t get the urge to check my iPhone or pick at some cheese in the fridge. The experience felt like both hours and minutes, you have no sense of time or space in there. After easing my way out of the water I had a shower, made sure I put my clothes back on and headed back out to the reception.

There Natalie greeted me with a warm pot of herbal tea and a delicious jar of homemade sorbet. I can honestly tell you at that moment I couldn’t have felt more zen.

I’m completely converted. Skeptical at first about how an expensive salt bath could cure what ails me, I now completely understand the new found demand for floatation.

It’s something that you’ve never experienced before and what I believe to be the closest you’ll get to an outer body experience, without huffing paint thinner. All in all I give the experience a solid 10/10 and I will absolutely be returning in the future. My only regret: forgetting to bring my hairbrush.

The Float Spa
Third Avenue