Deep into the darkness: My experience inside a float therapy pod

Does an experience of floatation therapy relax and rejuvenate? We did the dirty work of finding out, for you

December 24, 2018 05:36 pm | Updated 05:36 pm IST

I’m floating in inky black space and the only thing I can hear is my own heavy breathing. The silence at first is a killer. To add to it, I’m stark naked. The cold I-can’t-see-a-thing-not-even-my-toes darkness that envelopes me along with the warm embrace of water makes it all surreal. I’m defying gravity. Even if only for 60 minutes. And it’s all happening not in space, but bang in the middle of bustling Bengaluru’s Indiranagar, in a little oasis of peace called 1000 Petals, “a meditation and spiritual centre.”

I’m tucked away in a Relaxo-Pod

It’s a huge sound-and-light-proof shell, which is supposed to mimic a mother’s womb, floating in 600 kilos of Epsom salt dissolved in 10 inches of water. ‘At least I can’t drown,’ was my first thought. I’m also amused by my temerity to close the pod (there is a simple switch you can control it with), leaving it just an inch open… just in case, I tell myself (you can leave it open too).

I’m ear-plugged and immune to any sense of sound except my own breathing, and I had never heard it this loud in my head. Now I knew why Vartika Gupta, co-founder of 1000 Petals, kept saying, while putting me through the paces of Floatation Therapy or R.E.S.T. (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique): “Follow the movement of your breath and don’t think about anything.”

And that was the toughest challenge — the difficulty of keeping still, both the body and the mind. For FOMO-riddled folk like me, who peep into their phones every other second, that ‘doing nothing’ comes with withdrawal symptoms.

I fidgeted

With my body skimming the water, I tried to adjust my head, imagining myself in the Dead Sea. I was wondering how long I had been there, if my body was absorbing all the benefits it was supposed to be. And then was momentarily mortified that I would come out all wrinkly and looking pickled in brine.

In short, I’ve done everything anyone would do in the first float experience — come on, you’re not going to go find “inner peace” and go into a new dimension of theta brainwaves (you’re supposed to get to that state) in one float, are you?

Vartika says her clients have been using this therapy for many things, ranging from treating ADHD, stress, anxiety, depression, to fibromyalgia, arthritis and a whole lot more. I did step out of the pod refreshed and relaxed, though, and a little less achy and pain-ey maybe, but definitely gleeful of ticking one more novel experience off my imaginary bucket list.

And in the end, no, I didn’t come out looking like a gherkin.

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