I have to admit, when Athanae told me she'd gone "floating", I was dubious. However, the treatment is cropping up around the world and apparently it's not half-bad, as Athanae Lucev explains.
I bounded up to my friend, fresh from the excitement of booking in my first session.
‘What exactly is it that you’re doing?’ she said.
‘Floating,’ I answered.
‘What does that even mean?’ she persisted
‘Floating for an hour in 500kg of Epsom salts!’ I said, quickly outlining some of the benefits I’d been sold on that morning.
‘Some people will fall for anything,’ she said. ‘If you’re the Eskimo, you’re getting sold ice.’
Despite her cynicism, I persevered, and turned up right on time at Beyond Rest, just outside the Perth CBD, for my first floating session. Far from being the kind of thing you could compare to doing in your bath at home, or something you could replicate in salty beach waters, this is floating like you’ve never known it.
Also known as sensory deprivation tanks (although there’s probably a reason it’s now floating – I’m not sure I would have signed up for the former!), each floating tank looks like a big bath with a lid on it, and each contains a super-saturated Epsom salt and magnesium sulfate solution.
The first of its kind in Perth, floating is now on the menu thanks to the innovative thinking and business nous of serial entrepreneur Nick Dunin, who is backed up by his brother Ben. Having grown up in Perth, Nick has spent the better part of the last decade travelling the globe and has come back home to WA to launch his latest venture.
Dunin says floating, which has been around for close to 60 years, is the closet experience humans can have to being in outer space, and he’s harnessed world-leading technology to create the best floating experience possible.
Its proven medical benefits are reported to include relief from stress, chronic pain, muscle pain and arthritis. Dunin tells me the story of a man who meditated for hours in a tank, and of other creative types who float before they write or record their crafts. He says an hour-long float like the one I did is equivalent to about four hours' sleep. So even if you’re a skeptic...if you’re interested in maximising the use of your time it’s worth trying it. Each tank is in a separate room with its own shower, towel and robe, ensuring you have privacy from beginning to end.
I would highly recommend giving the float a go. It’s a great idea and I’m really glad that new ideas and concepts in wellness like this are getting up and running. I had a little bit of the old ‘monkey mind’ when I went in to the tank, so it took me a while to settle in, but once I did I found it a really worthwhile and fulfilling experience. The music at the beginning was a great leveller to really help make the break with the ‘real world’. As long as you really let go and let your mind drift and wander you’ll get the most out of the experience. I found that over the course of the next few days, despite the inevitable stress I was undergoing due to having my own six-week-old business, I slept better and was less easily ruffled by various issues, and I am seriously tempted to make this part of my weekly routine.
Top five tips for a successful float:
- Make sure you use the Vaseline tubes provided - if you have any little nicks or cuts they will sting like crazy with all that salt.
- Wash your makeup off before you get in and try not to touch your face while you’re in the tank – I learnt the hard way that the salt water in your eyes is not much fun.
- Try to get into a ‘zen’ state (or at least try to clear your mind a little) before you get into the tank, so you can get the maximum benefits from your time there.
- While this is the kind of thing you can do in your lunch break, keep in mind you’ll need to dry your hair or be able to swing it up in to a bun afterwards. Mirrors and a hairdryer are available on-site.
- Don't wax, shave or eat a big meal in the few hours prior to floating.
Athanae Lucev is the co-founder of Green Smoothie Co. (also on Facebook!), an online retail site selling single-serve pre-packaged superfood mixes. GSC’s mission is to make a healthy life easier and more accessible for everyone. Athanae also runs a bespoke communications consultancy, a venture she started after a decade working in journalism and Federal politics. Athanae is a novice yogi, long-time writer and is passionate about gender equality and women in business.