New experiences are my jam, especially if it helps me do that inner 'chill-time' thing!
From yoga to once joining a raw food vegan meet-up (don't ask - It was a troubled time in life and I thought I could cure it by drinking my body weight in mango smoothies), I've tried a few 'life altering' practices in my time.
So I was really intrigued when my friend Zoe (an Aucklander) suggested trying out a float pod. "It's AH-MAZING" she enthused (on messenger). I was skeptical. It sounded kind of weird when I checked it out. A float pod is a 'sensory deprivation experience' where you float in a tub that's filled with 500kg of Epsom Salts (like the ones in the dead sea). The water is just below room temperature so when you are in it you don't really feel it against your skin. You lie in the pod and float on the water for around an hour. It sounded like having a bath in a space capsule.
Luckily, a boutique float company, Float Well NZ had just opened in May. They suggested I might like to pop by for a pod.
"The water is just below room temperature so when you are in it you don't really feel it against your skin. You lie in the pod and float on the water for around an hour. It sounded like having a bath in a space capsule."
So, one rainy afternoon in the middle of Winter in Wellington a few weeks back, my boyfriend Matt and I drove down to Manners Mall to check it out and meet the folk behind Float Well.
Float Well is tucked away from the world in the second level of the James Smith Arcade in Wellington's Te Aro district. In fact, Matt and I wondered where on earth we were heading as we followed the signs through the building, past a tattoo shop and an empty unused space for rent. We need not have worried. Walking to the end of a long corridor, we were greeted by a white, bright art deco room. Arriving it felt like a totally different place from the slightly run down James Smith exterior, like coming to a very stylish yoga teacher's lounge. Owners Kevin and Sam greeted us with a warm smile and a Canadian twang. "Welcome!" Sam smiled, handing us a form to fill out. Sam explained that she and Kevin came here in 2012 and on top of running Float Well together, she teaches part time at Hot Yoga Wellington. I began to relax.
"Owners Kevin and Sam greeted us with a warm smile and a Canadian twang. "Welcome!" Sam smiled, handing us a form to fill out."
After chatting for a bit before moving through the white corridor, peacefully looking out over Manners Mall below. Sam led us to the float pods which were lined up one by one in different rooms, just around the corner from the entrance. I walked into the white space and felt myself tingling in anticipation. I just wanted to find out what was in those little rooms.
Sam told Matt and I that we would be in different rooms but Sam had us together to explain how this whole float business worked. She took her time and allowed us to ask as many dumb questions as we needed. We were shown where to shower and wash (you can't wear lotions in a float pod). Sam explained we needed to put in earplugs before we showered so we didn't get water caught in out ears. After being instructed Matt and I went our separate ways and I got ready for the pod (spoiler: you go in nude!!!!).
We had both wanted music to play the whole time (you can have no music, but we wanted to not feel completely sense-less). I got in the nudders and then put myself into the pod. Pulling down the lid, I wondered if I would feel claustrophobic. Turned out I didn't at all. I could see everything to start with because I had the changing coloured light on. After a while, I wanted to turn it off so it was 100% dark. After I worked out how to do that, I really relaxed into the pod. It was a very cool, relaxing experience and I completely LOVED it. I really felt the worries of the week wash away!
I didn't go to sleep, but you can if you want. The salt water keeps you floating, so you can't really risk drowning. There is also an emergency help button if you need Sam or Kevin to come in a help you with anything.
"It was a very cool, relaxing experience and I completely LOVED it. I really felt the worries of the week wash away!"
I had my eyes open most of the time. I'm not sure why. But it was very relaxing. I especially liked how the magnesium from the Epsom salts made my body relax (Epsom salts relax muscles). I thought this would be great for athletes, or anyone who just feels a bit run down.
After an hour, an automatic woman's voice came on telling me to get my naked ass out of there (well, more politely). I popped out, washed again, dressed, dried my hair and went to the lounge-y space were Matt and Sam were talking. Matt looked thrilled "I loved it!" he said, beaming. "That was SO cool!".
Sam poured Matt and I a cup of Libertine Blend tea. I picked Kapow with chilli and cardamon to feel warm. Outside, the winter rain beat down. It had grown dark, but there was no pressure on us to leave. In fact, the aim of Float Well, Sam said, was to make sure everyone had their own unique experience so they try and space customers out to get the most from their time. Matt asked about the water. Sam explained that the salt pods are filtered, so they are always getting cleaned. A single pod can have 1000 floats before the water needs to be changed. She also laughed that she and Kevin had thousands of kilograms of Epsom salts out the back of the studio.
"Float pods really are for everyone, from stressed business men to mums, from serious athletes to casual yogis - and everyone in between. Float Well NZ were amazing!"
As we drove home, and for the rest of the night, Matt and I felt happy and like we continued to float on, our muscles relaxed. The relaxed muscle feeling actually lasted a few days and was really nice, especially because I can get tense working in an office. Trying a Floatpod was nowhere nearly as scary as I expected and it was really enjoyable treat I will 100% do again.
Float pods really are for everyone, from stressed business men to mums, from serious athletes to casual yogis - and everyone in between. Float Well NZ were amazing and I would highly recommend these guys. They are the shizz.
Try a float. You don't have to be fit and no one will see you! Perfect for a winter treat when you're a bit pasty and whale-like. Head down to Sam and Kevin sometime and find out for yourself - I can guarantee it will float your boat!
Thank you Sam and Kevin for inviting me to try a Float! You can find the pricing for a float here with Float Well NZ.