After a busy week—work, late nights, and live performances—I can easily say that last Friday, I was feeling pretty mangled. It was my sister’s birthday, and I had just remembered I’d forgotten her card as I arrived noticeably flustered for my appointment at Hydra Floatation Spa Reykjavík. This frenetic energy would soon, quite literally, float away.
Unique Regenerative Possibilities
Hydra Flot is a floatation spa featuring ‘floatation tanks’ (also known as ‘sensory deprivation chambers’) which offer the ultimate relaxation experience. All too often, our short attention spans are divided between a myriad of distractions, be it ever-present social media, Netflix, podcasts, the news, or even just that obnoxious tourist from London speaking too loudly at the pool. An hour in a floatation tank completely removes you from external distractions, offering your brain and body the ultimate regenerative holiday.
The floatation tank was created in the 1950s by quirky scientist John C. Lilly, who would spend a great deal of time exploring the realms of human consciousness under the conditions of sensory deprivation. (He also attempted to create a language solely for humans and dolphins to communicate in, but that’s an entirely different story).
Opening the Pod into a New World
I arrive slightly nervous about the experience. I am one of those people who has a podcast on while falling asleep. I’m a terrible fidget, and I’ve never had much luck with meditation. The idea of spending an hour purely with my thoughts is a little intimidating, but Ryan Patrekur, the visionary behind the business, immediately puts me at ease with his warm, relaxed demeanour as he introduces me to my pod for the next hour.
I get my first look at the tank. It’s far bigger than I had expected, which immediately quells the claustrophobic nagging in the back of my mind. After a thorough introduction to the treatment, I shower and get into the tank.
As soon as I lie down, I immediately rise to the surface with a buoyancy that can only be described as the physical embodiment of pure glee. After experimenting with lying on both my front and back, I settle on my back. I rest my head and neck on a floating, foam neck cushion and wait with mild trepidation for the lights to go out.
I needn’t have been worried. What I experience is a unique and tranquilising episode that I want to repeat as soon as possible. Once the brain gets used to the complete absence of unconscious processes, it either relaxes or goes into play mode. I encounter a bit of both.
I don’t quite manage to relinquish my body to the water and “become God,” as Joe Rogan describes it. Fusing with the water and existing purely as consciousness does sound appealing, though, and I am sure I could work up to it after a few regular sessions. I certainly felt a high degree of peace. I found that, if I had my eyes open, I could make out fractal visuals, and I almost felt as though I were on a conveyor belt. The level of relaxation is remarkable, and I found that my brain quietly rested while I was still awake and alert.
The Promise of a Private Place to Recharge
Time melts away; before I knew it, the lights were back on.
I shower and meet again with Ryan to have a chat. He explains that he started the business with the goal of offering people an authentic experience, independent of weather and season. An additional benefit of the therapy in Iceland is that you are floating in some of the purest tap water in the world, a luxury not available in most countries.
The experience is popular among cabin crews after long flights as well as travellers (especially red-eye passengers). An hour in the tank has the same restorative effect as sleeping up to eight hours, and it’s a great way to spend 90 minutes while you’re waiting to check into a hotel or unwinding after a long day’s hike or tour.
An hour in the tank has the same restorative effect as sleeping up to eight hours.
Regular customers include athletes, performers, and artists. There is also a niche contingent, the pregnant clientele, who for obvious reasons treasure the weightless encounter more than most. Although there are no proven health benefits to floatation therapy, there have been countless testimonials to its efficacy at relieving stress and tension. My experience bears this out: on the evening of my float, I enjoyed some of the best sleep I can remember, which could be due to the high levels of magnesium in Epsom salts.
Hydro Flot offers refreshment by way of regeneration, yet also holds promise for a private space where you can tackle creative blocks — or merely let the mind play and see where it takes you.
Posted by Hydra Flotation Spa on Friday, May 4, 2018