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Floating Testimonials

"As a counselling psychologist at South Dublin Psychologists, I have developed an interest in flotation not only for its relaxation effects but also in relation to its use with a broad range of psychological and physical difficulties. I've floated myself a number of times and have had varied - but always, at the very least, relaxing - experiences. Flotation's effects are difficult to predict precisely for each individual. However, the practice can often result in de-stressing, relaxation, alleviation of physical pain, a consideration of life's difficulties from a different perspective, enhanced creativity, and enhanced performance in sports and other activities requiring the individual to attend to things 'in the present moment'. It is this rooting of the person's attention in the present moment which results in flotation having similar effects to that of meditation. Whereas the latter is often difficult to engage in successfully due to environmental distractions, such 'interference from the outside' is restricted by the sound-proofing, darkness, and effortless flotation provided by the tank and its skin-temperature water. What I can almost guarantee for most people is that they will leave the tank feeling more relaxed than they probably have in quite some time. Flotation has even been associated with beneficial effects concerning people's efforts to bring about behavioural change, especially in relation to habitual activities such as over-eating and other addictive behaviours. I am currently conducting research concerning flotation and its effects at Harvest Moon and have found both the flotation itself - as well as the staff - to be both relaxing and pleasant. I wholeheartedly recommend flotation at Harvest Moon to anyone interested in experimenting with an empirically research-supported means of enhancing relaxation (among many other potential benefits)." - Eoin O'Shea, Counselling Psychologist  

 

                  

 

"I was eight months pregnant when I floated for the first time. Pregnancy takes a toll on every muscle in your body, especially your torso. Ironically, the times when you get a chance to rest is when the baby becomes more active and it's weight continues to put stress on your muscles.
While floating, I expected the baby to be very active, but was pleasantly surprised. Since there was no pressure from any side, the baby didn't feel the need to kick or roll around. It was the best rest I've had in several months. I would recommend floating to anyone, pregnant or not, for a time of physical and mental renewal."

 

 

I’ve been doing a bit of work for a deals website called Living Social recently. Generally, what they do is offer cheap options for eating out or having extremely cheap cosmetic treatments in various cities, but occasionally they come up with something genuinely interesting. I still have a little bit of that spiritually experimental side of me sitting untapped of my travels and experiences with Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism in India, Nepal, Korea and Thailand, and when an opportunity like ‘the flotation tank’ comes up, I find it hard to resist.
 
The principle is simple: almost complete sensory isolation. I had little idea of what to expect when I arrived at the tiny little alternative medicine centre in South Dublin; they led me through to a room a little bit like an oversized bathroom, where a sealed container full of excessively salty water sat in one corner and a set of instructions on how to operate it in the other. I showered, got in, and closed the door.
 
Once you turn off the light, the flotation tank is completely pitch black, at the level where it really makes absolutely no difference if you have your eyes open or closed. You lie back in the salty water, gently nudge yourself away from the edges of the tank, and lie back, ears under the water, in total silence, just floating. It takes a while to feel like anything’s happening. For a while, the silence just seems overwhelming, then you start to hear your own body noises: breathing seems incredibly loud, and the heartbeat seems to break down into the constituent parts, with the valves audibly opening and closing, and a sense that the blood pumping through is just on the edge of the audible hearing range.
 
The longer you’re in there, the more the isolation dominates. Time seems a lost concept: after about 45 minutes, I’m so convinced that I’ve overstayed by hours session by at least double that I clamber out and stick salt to my mobile phone screen to check the time. It’s peaceful, yet at times intimidating – the extent of the darkness when your eyes are open leads you to question if you’ve gone completely blind, while other moments feel odd to the point of what I can imagine is kind of embryonic. I had so little idea of what part of the tank I was in that a part of my body colliding extremely gently with the edges seemed jarringly abrupt and made me jump several times.
 
The last few minutes went a little wrong. In a brief moment of full consciousness, I decided to experiment with the properties of the water. Thinking of the famous images of people floating and reading newspapers in the Dead Sea, I started to lift my hands above my head and move around to see just how much buoyancy the tank offers. The answer is an incredible amount, but it also has such a high level of salt that a single drop from falling from the hands into the eyes is enough to cause pretty extreme pain. The relaxing element was long gone.
 
When you get out of the tank, you find the water’s so saturated that it’s oily. You can almost wipe the thick glean off your stomach, and when you stand up it seems to stick to the body until you get some soap off it to break down the bonds. My ears were filled with little crystals for several days afterwards – despite wearing earplugs, they just seem to creep in. The experience, though, is truly bizarre. How often do we spend even an hour in true silence, totally isolated from almost every outside sense in just warm, damp silence? It’s slightly overwhelming and completely disorienting, in terms of both time and direction. If only it wasn’t normally so expensive!- James Hendicott.

 

                                                                               

The heart doesn’t thump. It’s more like pum-POOM, falling at intervals of just over a second, and accompanied by the barely audible pressure of blood forcing its way into a ventricle. In here, it seems to beat at the volume of human speech, though it’s dramatically overpowered by the slight creek of a gentle raise of the arm in the darkness. My surroundings are such an empty nothingness that I can only tell for certain whether my eyes are open or closed by poking at the eyeball. Occasionally, without warning, an anatomical extremity collides with the invisible walls surrounding my half-naked body. It’s the gentlest of collisions, but its unpredictability sends a tsunami of shockwaves through the darkness, bouncing my floating body back into a seemingly static yet endlessly unstable state of suspension.

About 45 minutes pass, and I turn on the light switch. I’m floating in a salty bath in the blindingly dark confines of what’s essentially a blacked out, nicely heated paddling pool. It’s intimidating at first, yet the kind of blackness that descends when the lights flicker out – fused with the deathly silence aided by ear plugs and the gentle two-tone beat of the heart – quickly evaporates any concept of time. Soon afterwards, the head begins to swirl with entirely un-stimulated randomness, spinning between complete consciousness and a day-dream state. After five minutes, virtual to-do lists and ‘thinking time’ are exhausted and overwhelmed. Sheer serenity, empty space and stress relief kick in: I’m floating in a carbon fiber tub in a central Dublin basement, but I could be anywhere, or equally, nowhere.

Flick the light switch over your left shoulder, and the flotation tank is a large coffin of stringy fibres, well-concealed filters and heating devices. Switch things back off, though, and its 24 square feet of nothingness, and lying back and letting yourself go feels strangely primal. The warmth of the lapping water and the throb of your own heart beat feel pure and embryonic, and if you can avoid checking your eyes still open and close normally – which doses them in salt water so oily and thick it’ll make swimming in the Atlantic seem like a fresh bath tub – it’s an hour of pure relaxation that feels like a good deal longer. With the facilities to wash off the rainbow layers of salt from the folds of the outer ear (and the rest of your now almost sedentary limbs) all laid out amongst a stunning hippie backdrop, the lightest knock on the flotation room door might sound like a hammer blow, but it won’t lift you from your dreamy state. Float on!

You can hear the faintest murmurs of your heart and slosh away the stress at the Harvest Moon holistic stress management centre, located at 24 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2.  www.harvestmoon.ie - James Hendicott.