What is a Float?
Do any of the following apply to you: trouble sleeping; aches and pains; sports injury; or do you like to meditate? Did you realise that these are just some of the things that can be helped by floating? When I heard about Float in the Forest I just knew it would be a perfect experience for me post half-marathon; and I am delighted to share with you my review.
I guess I should start by explaining what a Float is, it is like getting into a bath the size of a small car: You climb inside the Floatation tank and simply float like a cork in warm water saturated with Epsom Salt, a bit like in the Dead Sea. The water is heated to skin temperature, so after a while you can’t feel where your body ends and the water begins. You feel so weightless that you can totally relax all your muscles – letting go of tensions. With the distractions of sound and light minimised combined with all the work that the mind usually has to do to resist gravity you can just completely let go, relaxing into a blissful state.
There are many reasons people chose to Float. Floating can activate the parasympathetic response which involves muscles relaxing, heart rate and blood pressure dropping (I had to be careful as mine is already low), reducing cortisol, adrenalin and lactic acid and improving circulation.
Floating For Runners
I really liked the sound of the fact that a Float could help relax any achy muscles. Floating has been used for sports rehabilitation and training – as it breaks down lactic acid quickly (reducing fatigue and muscle ache); reduces heart rate; helps muscles relax, increases circulation, and generally puts you in a relaxed environment where your body can focus on injury repair and muscle growth.
Floating For Pain Relief
Floats have given people relief from chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, back pain and sciatica – this is because floating takes the pressure off the body, circulation improves, and the muscles and joints can relax and stretch out.
Floating For Meditation
Plus Floating is good for meditation, since going on the Yoga Retreat I have kept up some level of meditation (even our eleven year old practices it to help him sleep), and I was especially interested to give it a try after hearing that some people have experienced enlightenment whilst floating.
Floating For Sleep
I have previously talked about how important a good night’s sleep is, with a chronic lack of sleep leading to a wide range of problems which can affect concentration, judgement and memory; as well as affecting mood. But it can also lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and heart disease. Floating can help relax you so much that you fall asleep whilst Floating and this is perfectly safe. The water isn’t very deep and the concentration of Epsom salts stops you from rolling over.
Float in The Forest
First of all what I want to say is a big well done to Shari and Will. I was really anxious about Floating, but their website is so informative and I received such a friendly welcome when I arrived. Before you begin there is a twenty-minute tour and all my questions answered and my fears/anxieties addressed. From “what happens if I get trapped in” (really you can’t but there’s an emergency button and they have a way to unlock the door for emergencies) to should I wear my hair band?
The tour includes showing you around the whole building (toilets, relaxation room, private float rooms, and treatment room) with absolutely everything being thought about to be as fully-inclusive as they can. I absolutely loved the attention to detail to things such as the colours of the doors (so you can remember where you are going) to the visual aid on the wall to remind you what you need to do before, during and after entering your Float tank.
Float in the Forest has ‘I-sotank’ float tanks; these allow you to be in control of the lights whilst you float and music at the beginning and end of your Float (helping you to ease in and signal the end). The Float tank has an internal floating area of over 2.3m/7.5ft long and 1.45m/4.55ft wide whilst being quite tall and feeling roomy. The door on the Float tank does not lock it just pushes up and down with a gas lift, like a car boot. These are designed and built in the UK.
Before arriving for the Float there are some things to read to help prepare (this covers things about what you shouldn’t do – such as shaving/waxing 12-24 hours before, vigorous sex, eating a big meal and having caffeine). If like me you like to know what to expect then you will be pleased to find that the Float in the Forest website is absolutely full of information with various blogs on the many questions you may have. It is lovely to know that you do not need to think about anything – just relax – as everything is provided. Before your Float you will need to wash including your hair and feet to remove any dirt and oils from your skin and hair.
Float in the Forest was easy to find and park in the designated parking spaces right outside. There’s a lovely woodland across the road for an enjoyable walk before and/or after your float. I had the pleasure of seeing lambs as well as squirrels and hearing lots of birds. Float in the Forest recommend at least 2 hours for a first float and I have to admit I am not really sure where the time went!
After the Float
There’s lots of local art around including in the post-float lounge where there is water, organic teas, books, mindful colouring and comfy chairs. Some of the books, teas and other goodies are available to buy too! There’s also a journal to add your own thoughts – or read about other people’s experiences.
My Thoughts on My First Float with Float in the Forest
Contrary to any fears it does not feel claustrophobic inside the Float tank because you have full control of the environment – including the colour of the lighting in the room outside the tank (which automatically switches off when there is no movement and comes back on when it detects it again). You can leave the Float tank door open fully, or at varying heights and the light on (either as a solid colour or rotating through a rainbow) as well as the full sensory enhancing experience of in the dark with the door fully closed.
At Float in the Forest everything is fully explained and there is a visual aid on the wall in case you forget or want reassuring. Inside the Float tank is a button for the light as well as an alarm button which alerts the front desk. Your room is completely private with a lock on the door (floating naked is the best way to do it, but costumes can be worn if you really aren’t comfortable).
Honestly as soon as my legs went into the Float Tank I just felt wow. I had intended to slowly build up to having the door closed and the light off but went straight into it. I think the reassuring from Shari and Will had done that. I believe that every Float is different and of course it will depend on what you want out of it. For me I went with no expectations and no agenda (other than I wanted to attempt it with the door closed in complete darkness). I spent some time being quiet and trying to still my mind, but for the most part I just couldn’t stop having fun – moving around and just generally being much more aware of my body, noticing aches and pains I never realised I had. Or just listening to my heartbeat.
I spent so much time trying to not think about time, letting go of the concept, that when I came out that’s exactly what I had achieved! Not only could I not believe that I had been in there an hour but that the following hour after coming out just vanished!
I can confirm that Shari was great at coming straight to see if I was okay when I press the panic button – as I had managed to spin around and thought that I was pressing the light!
Green Values at Float in the Forest
I love that Float in the Forest have green values too, with the body wash, shampoo and conditioner being from green cosmetic company Faith In Nature.; fluffy towels from environmentally sustainable local business JEH Laundry; toilet paper from Who Gives A Crap (their bamboo toilet paper is sustainable and they give 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world; gas and electricity supplied by Britain’s Greenest Energy company Ecotricity – who are based in Gloucestershire; and they have solar panels on the roof. I think that you really have to factor in the fact that being Green isn’t the cheapest option and so you are really getting such great value when you factor this into considering the price of the Float.
Prices are £50 per Float or less if bought in bulk or on a monthly membership. For every 5 new floaters sent their way then a free float is earned – so please do put my name in the how you heard about them box when you go for your first float!
Princess Royal Business Estate
Forest of Dean
The road between Whitecroft and Bream, about 5 minutes from Lydney, or 10 minutes from Coleford.
Over 18s Only
Tues to Sun, 10am – 8pm
I received a complimentary Float, all opinions are honest and my own.