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Floatopia - Floatation Therapy Centre

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by Kym Hamer (subscribe)
Kym is an Aussie sheila who came to the UK, set down her swag, and stayed. Check out her everyday moments at
Published October 15th 2011
Loose-limbed. Unruffled. Calm. Fluid.

These are all things I associate with a truly relaxing holiday. You know, the kind where the most critical decisions may include shall I read or doze off or am I hungry enough to be bothered moving to accommodate some sort of snacking/drinking. Most of us save hard and schedule annual leave with military zeal to achieve this and, when it's all done, find ourselves gazing wistfully at our fading tan lines and poring over travel websites to get that next escape firmly in the foreseeable future.

Well this week, I managed to achieve this in the space of a couple of hours. On Thursday night I ventured just off Chiswick High Road, crossed the threshold into the world of Floatation Therapy and experienced the most profound relaxation ever.

People, welcome to Floatopia.

There are lots of benefits associated with floatation therapy including stress relief, detoxing, increased energy, improved concentration, relief from injuries, regulating sleeping patterns (one float apparently simulates 4 hours of sleep) and releasing Endorphins - the body's natural pain killer and happy pill.

Welcome to Floatopia

So I filled in my form, donned my Floatopia-issued slippers and was shown to my Private Float Suite. After a quick run through of the Float Room itself and the do's and don'ts I was left to my own devices and not wanting to waste a moment, I was showered and 'in'.

Private Float Suite
Your own private Float Suite

Floatation simulates a zero gravity environment for the body by heating a solution of Epsom Salts to skin temperature. The 'water' for want of a better word, is quite shallow (waist deep when you are seated) so I got myself in the right spot, pulled the door closed, turned off the light and lay back to find myself floating effortlessly in the darkness.

My brain chattered furiously and I let myself listen to my garbled thoughts and then gently pulled my mind back to the sensation of the stillness. The soft background music stopped - this happens after about 15 minutes I was told - and after a while (and I really couldn't tell you how long) the chatter slowed and my limbs seemed to become 'at one' with the warm salt solution around me. I let my mind float too, observing it flit about as if the thoughts were not really mine and listening to my heart beating comfortingly in the background. At one stage, I tried to count my heart rate but my thoughts drifted away again.

The floatroom: 6ft high and 7ft long

It is the most extraordinary experience. I've never 'mastered' meditation, always with one 'eye' on the clock and feeling too impatient with the distractions of the mind and body. But I imagine this is what it must be like - this total acceptance of everything: the itches, the niggles, the thoughts, the chatter and then the move back to stillness, silence and peace.

The background music started softly again to signal the end of my float. Feeling a bit disconcerted I fumbled for the light switch and stretched to establish the connection between my limbs and brain again. My Floatopia 'host' had mentioned I might 'feel like Jenny' at the end of the float - whoever she is, I'd like to be Jenny a lot more often.

All the facilities to 'facilitate' your return to the real world

15 minutes later I was showered, dressed and in the chill out area feeling like I had spent a blissful two weeks on a beautiful beach somewhere.

And it was all in about 2 hours. To top it off, I had the best night's sleep for years and continued into Friday, calm and unruffled, in the face of the end of the week commuting challenges.

Now that's has to be the best value holiday I've ever had.

Floatopia is located in SW London just 10-15 minute walk from Turnham Green tube station. Open 7 days a week from 10am to 10pm, the standard price for a 1 hour float is 45 but you can buy an introductory course of 3 for 75.
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Why? The most profoundly relaxing thing I've ever done
When: 10am-10pm 7 days a week
Where: 97 Devonshire Road, Chiswick W4 2HU
Cost: 45 for one hour. a 'pack' of 3 introductory floats is 75
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