(Image via i-sopod)

With so many different types of therapy and relaxation techniques out there, it can be hard to choose which one is right for you. Flotation hydrotherapy is an emerging form of stress therapy, relaxation, and meditation that is quickly proving to be successful and beneficial for the mind and body. Read about Naomi’s experience during her first “float,” and find out if floating might help you relax and escape too.

By Naomi Ncayiyana


I have always wanted to venture far from home, both literally and figuratively. Having been prone to periods of mania and severe depression; escapism both physically and mentally had become my mission. I wanted to step away from prescriptive medication to more therapeutic forms of therapy. I had never heard about flotation therapy until a friend who had done an hour session mentioned it. He described the process, and the more he explained, the giddier with excitement I became.

The day of my float, I woke up with a sense of anticipation. I moved through my day taking in every sensory vibration I could. I listened to the trees, the movement of the cars and the conversations of weekend plans. I prepared myself for what would be an altering experience and I was not disappointed.

I arrived at the Medi-spa where I was met by a charmingly genial man named Michael. He took me through the whole process; the room, the steps of cleansing before and after the procedure should I panic. I was given a glass of water and went to my little floatation chamber. I undressed and showered, then stood with butterflies in my stomach at the head of the tank.

The flotation tank was welcoming. It was white, red and sleek, and it gaped amiably, like a big clam. It was huge, certainly bigger than my height. The lid domed up to make quite a lot of head space: I was scheduled for an hour—a long time for a bath, maybe, but a short time by the standards of a rest tank, where the temperature holds steady and the salt means that your skin won’t prune.

I hit a button to begin, and lay back in the water. Slowly, the coloured lights dimmed, and then the lights in the room, visible through the hinge of the lid, dimmed, too. It was pitch dark and at first a slight panic set in. My mind swirled with scenarios of being trapped and coffined in a watery grave. But slowly the thoughts of terror were replaced by curiosity; restlessness and disorientation replaced by a womb-like security.

I slowly began to relax, stretching my legs and arms as though I was saluting the sun. The velvety water ran across my body. I ran my hands across my skin which felt soft and smooth. I closed my eyes and my mind settled further. I was in space floating gravity-less through memories of youth and days gone by. I stopped noticing the movement of my body, the physical became mental.

It was only when I opened my eyes that I realised that my hour was up. Disappointment set in because I certainly could have stayed in the comfort of memory longer. I willed myself up, and stepped out of the pod. I stretched once again and stepped into the shower to wash away the salt that lingered on my body. I felt a sense of peace and tranquillity. All the anxieties of the week had washed away.

I dressed and walked out into the waiting room where Michael awaited with a cool glass of water. He allowed me to sit peacefully without much talk. I took in my breath in calm waves. After a few minutes of reflection. I said my goodbyes and stepped back into the hustle and bustle of the city. The sun was bright and my sight had to re-adjust. The sounds of the streets were a cacophony of whispers. I took it all in and with a smile across my face, I ventured out back into reality.

Naomi had her first “float” at the Ubuntu Wellness Centre in Cape Town. Visit their website for more information about their services or book your first session here!