That moment when the universe aligns and out of the blue you get a call from a local business to try a technique known to assist with anxiety, low mood, muscular pains; FLOATATION.
Unbeknown to Vivian, who owns Hydro-Ease, with Ireland’s only 2 person float cabins, I was in the midst of 1 year anniversaries which I’d rather have not been remembering. A year ago was a time of big change in my life as depression had kicked in and I was desperately looking for a solution. It was a time of mental instability, of breaking down in tears for no reason after a day at St George’s, a time of an inability to cope with situations without fight or flight kicking in. When I’d go to the theatre and want to run away within minutes, when going on a trip to Malaga I was in tears the night before, sobbing that I just couldn’t do it, but I did, and loved it. I’ve always had anxiety and panic attacks, I even gave up driving for a full year in my 30’s because I couldn’t cope with it any more! But Summer and Autumn 2016 seems to have been a time for remembering all those moments of my depression one year later, and realising how far I’d come, how I’d learnt the techniques to manage my mind, how a year later, I had fought through my own depression, recognised that the continuous and pains were only in my head and learnt to banish them; the aches and pains that ended my gym routine resulting in weight gain and a rounder me. I’d learnt a lot about me!
What are the stats, that 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems each year? I feel a sense of relief that for now I know the techniques that work for me (that could change), it’s that walk on the beach listening to the waves, it’s the walks discovering nature, it’s simply being aware of by breathing, it’s listening to Madonna or Kylie very loudly! Yes surprisingly they help… a lot! It takes all sorts!
So when Vivian read a blog post that said I seemed to be a ‘non-human being that’s evolved past the point of needing sleep’, she was drawn to me to ask if I would be interested in trying floatation.
And without a moments hesitation I was getting my appointment booked.
Within days and with swimming trunks under my arm I arrived at the floatation HQ in the middle of an industrial estate in Dundonald.
Vivian talked me through floatation, how it can help alleviate the pains of fibromyalgia, assist with PTSD, help calm the mind down and take your body and mind into another state of being where you will rarely have experienced before.
She talked through what might happen, and to just lie there in the tank and let what happens just happen, not to fight it, and go with the flow. She also said, to do it in the nip… she is Scottish after all. Well, here’s me wha!
And in I went.
There are two rooms, within each room is another sauna/steamroom sized cabin with the salted water to float in. It’s completely private and your own personal space during the 1 hour float. You put your clothes in the locker provided, step in to the flotation room and let the experience begin.
I chose the no lighting option (you have the option for added colour therapy), and once the session began, I placed my head on the head support, turned the lights off and what followed was an hour of sheer blissful nothingness. Once I was comfortable with being able to just float, I removed the head support, stretched my arms above my head and lay there, in the pitch black, floating, in the nip.
Something happened in my head, I didn’t think about that tweet I needed to send, or the email I needed to reply to; I simply lay there, listening to my body popping, thinking how wonderful the experience was and how I wanted to do it again, before the buzzer went off and it was over.
Where did that hour go? It simply disappeared as my mind fell into a state of meditation, of breathing, of warmth and coziness, of simply being, being there in the moment with no distractions, no light, no pressure from anywhere or any thing. Total and utter nothingness, like an object floating in space with no gravity, no sound, nothing.
Of all the places in NI, I never thought I’d be lying in a large shallow bath of very salty water in a Dundonald industrial estate. And I never thought I’d discover something that hands down beats a massage, beats any treatment I’ve ever tried before.
Floatation at Hydro-Ease is something I’ll definitely go back and experience again. And it’s a treatment I’d recommend everyone try at least once. It’s got everything you could yearn for; privacy, peace and quiet. If you don’t feel comfortable with a massage or a spa, but desperately want some me time to escape your world for an hour, this could be it.
Hydro-ease is currently £45 for a one hour session. Buy two sessions and get a third free.
Huge thanks to Vivian for this awesome experience!