For about a year or two now pod floating has taken over my Instagram feed.
Females across my social media network were bombarding my phone with photos of themselves inside this tank floating. Whatever it was, I needed to try it.
So firstly I need to state that I’m a fidgeter and thinker. I’m always doing something or thinking of something. I don’t meditate. I’ve never really tried.
When I think of meditation, I think of someone sitting in a half lotus position in empty room with soft music playing and some incense burning. Very cinematic.
I thought about trying pod floating because I wanted to try something new. But never did I expect myself to pay to float… in a pod. I float in the pool or ocean whenever I go swimming but never in an enclosed space. Which might actually be beneficial for me considering whenever I float in the ocean I somehow end up with a mouth full of salt water.
Before I went in I did some research. Some research means a lot of research. Maybe too much. This definitely raised the bar of expectations which I wouldn’t recommend doing.
There’s around 550kg of Epsom salts in each float tank. Because of the high levels of salt in the water pod, your body naturally floats without you even trying.
This scared me a little.
Pod floating is also the closest thing an average human will ever get to floating in space.
The pod floating is also known as a sensory deprivation tank. Users have compared their experiences in the tank like taking drugs. Apparently you can fall into a deep sleep, hallucinate and even lose track of time.
I went into Koa Recovery with my swimmers on ready for whatever was in store for me. The staff were extremely helpful and answered all of my questions. Again, I’d suggest to not ask as many questions as I did. Throughout the entire hour session I was thinking about everything they told me about the procedure and what to expect.
I was constantly reassured that I just needed to relax. I should’ve listened to that part.
But I was so curious how my body remains floating.
Before jumping into the pod (don’t actually jump in), you have a shower that isn’t too warm and isn’t too cold. This part was weird for me.
The entire process leading up to the floating needs to be balanced. A temperature balanced shower and even a balanced sensation of hunger. You can’t be too full or too hungry.
So after your cold shower (I like my showers scolding hot which I was advised not to do), you get into the pod. At Koa Recovery the pods lid can be left open or closed. I closed mine completely to get the full experience of it all.
The lights inside can be kept on for those who are paranoid or turned off for full darkness. Again, I opted for the real experience of it all with the lights off.
So after all of that you just lie down in this shallow pool of water in the pod and drift off into relaxation mode.
For the first 10 minutes inside the pod music is played to help you shut off and really get into the mood. But all I could think about was whether someone would come into the room while I was in there, and how the hell was I floating this well?
When the staff assured me I wouldn’t drown and not be able to go underneath the water, they were serious.
Lying there, I physically could not put my arm underneath the water level. I was pushing with all of my might to put my arm underneath the water, I just couldn’t.
Then the music stopped and I thought to myself, “shouldn’t I be relaxed by now?”
For the next 30 minutes I lay there thinking about everything underneath the sun. “Did I put the house alarm on?”
I was constantly worried about my position in the pod. Was I too close to the top? Was I veering towards one side? And every time I thought I drifted to one side I paddled my way to the centre. I shouldn’t of done that either.
When I was finally comfortable with my state of mind and position I closed my eyes. I was awake and nowhere near falling asleep.
Five minutes or so had passed and I opened my eyes. I then heard a constant thump. It was so loud and I didn’t know what it is. I was blinking with disbelief at this unusual loud thumping sound.
I soon realised that I could hear my eyelids blinking.
That’s what the thumping was. Yep. That’s right. Eyelids make a sound. And I’ve heard it.
Was it the salt? Was it the sensory deprivation of the tank? Or do my eyelids just make this noise all the time and I can’t hear it. Can other people hear my blinking? Am I just a loud person? This just opened up a whole new avenue of thoughts.
A lot of other pod users can hear their own heartbeat. This would’ve freaked me out so I’m happy I heard my loud eyelids.
Apart from my loud eyelids, a lot of weird things happened to my body. I felt every movement. Every time I moved my finger tips in the water, I could feel the current of water rushing up against my body and hitting my earlobes.
Every time I moved my head, I could feel each strain of hair moving in the water. My hair was heavy. It was weighing me down so much that I convinced myself to go out and shave it all off as soon as my session was over.
After freaking out about my loud eyelids, heavy head of hair and the feeling in my earlobes I relaxed again. But then I started thinking about the time.
A lot of users mentioned how they completely lose track of time. I wanted to know. Up to this point, it felt like I was only 20 minutes or so in. I quickly popped out of the pod to check my phone. I was in disbelief realising that 50 minutes of my hour session had passed.
I threw my phone back on the table and quickly shut the lid to the pod. Maybe I can fall asleep now in this remaining 10 minutes? Who am I kidding; I knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep.
So I spent the remaining 10 minutes paddling around in this pod. I realised how small I was in this pod thing. Before going in I was a bit worried that it would be tight. But for me this 5”5 gal, it was spacious.
Soon enough the music started playing again to wake the guest.
Sitting up in the pod was a struggle. My body was finally relaxed! Which was annoying. It took me an hour to get to this state!
I needed to stretch. I never need to stretch. But if it didn’t I would’ve felt cramped. This stretch was by far the best stretch of my life. It was that good, it felt like it was my first time ever stretching.
Opening the lid was disappointing knowing that my session was over.
I stood up and I felt salty.
I felt like a piece of salami. Hanging there in a room drying up with the help of all that salt. My skin felt so tight. I was becoming hanging salami.
After your float you go back into the shower to rinse off the salt. If you don’t your skin will go extremely dry and well you guessed it, salty.
Coming out of the room I had a good talk to the staff about my experience. All of which was normal, that was a sigh of relief! I was extremely disappointed I couldn’t fall asleep especially considering how much I was wanting to.
Leaving Koa Recovery I was tired and struggled to drive home. I didn’t nap that afternoon, nor did I have a better nights sleep that night. I was tired but that was about it.
Staff at Koa Recovery advised me that one hour of sleep inside the pod is equivalent to four hours of deep sleep. I want that! However, pending on the person, it can take up to four or five sessions for someone to fall asleep in the pod.
So would I go back? Well I wouldn’t be running back for a float and that’s being honest.
Personally, for someone like me who doesn’t meditate, is constantly thinking and fidgeting it’s hard to get into that mood of relaxation in an hour.
I would most definitely recommend it for those people who can shut off from everything quickly. If you can fall asleep regardless of what condition you’re in, this is for you. As well as that, if you’re constantly tired I would say that pod floating would be beneficial.
Even though my expectations weren’t met, I’d suggest visiting Koa Recovery. The staff were extremely helpful and accommodating throughout my session.
Overall I can happily relate my experience to Homer in episode 16 of season 10 of the Simpsons.
Where: Koa Recovery, 159 Botany Road Waterloo
For more information call: (02) 8068 2615
Visit: Koa Recovery