Float in the forest

Our first experience of being in a floatation tank at the Float in the Forest

Fortunately, I have a friend who knows me well enough to spot an experience that is right up my street and the good sense to buy it for me as a gift (thank you Rhian!). She met the beautiful soul that is Shari at an event where she told her all about the recently opened Float in the Forest, a floating centre in the Forest of Dean. Rhian must have heard the word ‘relaxation’ and thought ‘I know a friend in to that!’

I had never heard of a floatation experience before but just the words ‘float in the forest’ were met by my ‘I am in’ enthusiastic response. Turns out this isn’t a new fad, it’s been around for years. Invented in the 1950’s by neuroscientist Dr John Lilly, it has been the basis of fascinating research. It’s thought to have both mental and physical benefits and a simple way to induce deep relaxation.

We were greeted by Shari and Will who were fantastic hosts and ooze calming energy. Their tour and explanation of the floating tanks was so reassuring and answered all our questions. It’s an hour in a tank of the perfect temperature water that’s denser than the Dead Sea . There is calming music to start but then silence. Beautiful calming colours of light can fill the tank or the advised way to experience it is pitch black. Of course we took expert advice, no light, no sound.

I was wary that an hour may be too long and that I might get too hot. I always think a bath is a good idea but can just about stick it for 10 minutes and I was worried I might feel the same in the tank. Surprising as it may sound, this is NOTHING like a bath. I was the perfect temperature and an hour passed by in a flash. Ian was worried he might get claustrophobic but the size of the tank is similar to being inside a spacious car so he did not feel any anxious thoughts about lack of space (for anyone with true claustrophobia the tank door can be left open throughout). Also the complete darkness and floating result in having no perception of where your body is in space.

The absence of any external stimuli led to unparalleled level of relaxation.  It was exactly like some of my experiences during deep state of meditation. No effort required. It was like a journey to another dimension or what I imagine being out in space would be like (without any uncomfortable astronaut gear or fear of lack of oxygen). It gave me a huge sense of wellbeing, happiness and gratitude. A fantastic opportunity for uninterrupted solitary reflection and to gain perspective. I felt focused on manifesting my goals and experienced clarity like never before. As the music gently came on to signal the end of my session I couldn’t help but burst in to laughter with such joy and positivity.

As I stepped out of the tank I had an overwhelming sense of being purified. I felt completely healthy in mind, body and spirit. I wish everyone could experience floating as I know now how beneficial it can be. If only this was available on prescription!

Yours in health and happiness

Dr Liza