Floatation- what is it and how can you benefit

I recently went to try out a floatation tank for the first time. I’d heard the buzz about them, but didn’t quite know what to expect. Have a read through my blog to find out what floatation is and how you may benefit.

What is a floatation tank?

Float tanks look like large enclosed bathtubs. They are filled with highly concentrated Epsom salt solution which aims to create an environment similar to that of the Dead Sea. The salty solution enables you to float effortlessly on the surface of the water and the resultant buoyancy gives you the feeling of weightlessness. The tanks are designed to block out external distractions such as noise and light, allowing a deeper state of relaxation.

What are the benefits of floatation?

Whilst you can find a more comprehensive list of benefits on the website link below, the main benefits of floatation which resonate with me include:

  • Relaxation in a calm and peaceful environment
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Decreased stress on your joints
  • Alleviation of physical and mental stress
  • Assistance with rehabilitation and recovery from injuries

What does the Epsom salt solution do?

The buoyancy created by the Epsom salt solution removes the effects of gravity on the body, allowing you to feel weightless and reduces the strain on joints and muscles. The absorption of magnesium may further assist with a release in muscle tension. *There is still insufficient evidence as to whether Epsom Salt baths can aid recovery, but anecdotal evidence and personal experience have found that having an Epsom salt bath following strenuous activity helps decrease delayed onset muscle soreness and tightness.

My personal experience:

I booked my floatation experience for 6.30pm- normally the time I’m bathing my toddler and getting him ready for bed. Let’s just say, it’s not the most relaxing part of the day, as I chase him round the house to put his nappy on, wrestle him to put his PJ’s on, and then pray that he’ll go to sleep easily rather than jump up & down for an hour calling out for me or his list of sleep avoidance techniques. Instead on this evening, I walked into the Zen like environment at Beyond Rest in Prahran. The dim lights, relaxing music and beautiful scented candles already made me feel relaxed before the floatation even begun.

After the briefing, I showered and entered the floatation tank- dimly lit with relaxing background music. My initial thoughts were ‘How am I going to last an hour in here? Surely I’ll get bored or even fall asleep?’ and ‘What if I feel claustrophobic?’

I personally didn’t feel at all claustrophobic as I knew I could open the tank at any stage. Also the hour went by almost too quickly.

I spent the first 10 minutes playing with the effects of gravity- lift right arm out the water, makes you roll to the right. Try one finger, one foot. Lay on my side on a floating noodle, roll onto my belly and see if that’s more comfortable for my preggy belly. Once I decided lying on my back was actually the most comfortable and relaxing position I tried to ‘let go’ and relax.

I definitely spent a good portion of time thinking about all the things on my ‘to do list’, what I was cooking for dinner the next day etc.. but whilst this may not have been achieving the mental relaxation intended , my body was completely supported and my joints and muscles were benefiting from a rest from the days strenuous activities.

I tried to focus a bit more on what my body was feeling and to disconnect from the day’s busy schedule. This was probably achieved this more towards the end of the hour, as before I knew it the dim lights and music came back on and the hour was over.

For me, the rest from my nightly routine was already a big benefit. Even while going through my list of things to do in my head, I could do it in a quiet and peaceful environment. I enjoyed the calm environment, the serenity and the rest. An added benefit was going home to a peaceful sleeping toddler 😉 .

Another benefit for me was the ability to lie comfortably on my back while pregnant and not feel strain on my hips and pelvis.

Added benefits of floatation when you’re pregnant:

  • Buoyancy takes the pressure of the baby off your spine and pelvic joints
  • Sensory isolation promotes optimal rest when you’re already feeling fatigued
  • Relaxation can improve fatigue and energy level
  • Safe to lie on your back

Whilst I had been advised by the centre that floating is safe during pregnancy, I still got the ‘OK’ from my obstetrician and would advise you to always check with your doctor if trying something new during pregnancy as your personal circumstances can differ.

If you want to find out more about floatation or to experience it for yourself check out the following link:


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