The latest relaxation treatment in Singapore that replicates the weightlessness of floating in the Dead Sea is just what the doctor ordered
Naked, alone, and suspended in a pool of water.
Sounds like the opening scene of a teen scream flick, or the aftermath of a riotous weekend, than the latest relaxation treatment to hit our sunny shores. And, to top it all off, it's conducted in pitch-black darkness. I'm not sure about this. My Spider senses are tingling.
But when I arrive at the Novena Medical Centre to try out flotation therapy, my fears are quickly assuaged. The flotation pod is a sci-fi-esque white cocoon filled with 11 inches of water heated to 36 degrees Celsius (skin surface temperature) and filled with 600kg of magnesium sulfate salt for buoyancy. Think instant Dead Sea flotation. And, besides supporting your body, Epsom salts have a myriad of purported health benefits: pain and inflammation relief for tired muscles and joints, improved skin hydration to reduce wrinkles, relief for acne and eczema, and enhanced blood circulation for detoxification. Okay, let's give this a whirl.
I pop in my earplugs, take a shower, and in my birthday suit, step into my private flotation pod. Eerily quiet. I hit a button to my left to turn off the lights. Total darkness, except for a glimmer of light seeping in through the joinery of my closed pod door. So here I am: naked, alone, and suspended in a pool of water. Not as intimidating as I initially imagined. There's something rather embryonic about the whole experience.
Entirely deprived of all stimuli, stripped bare of all jewellery, and divorced from my iPhone – I'm supposed to sleep for my one-hour session. I'm told that an hour's asleep in the flotation pod is equivalent to four hours of regular sleep. But with my mind turning over a long list of to-dos and, trying to figure out whether I want to float with my arms straight out or folded over my chest mummy-style, it takes a while to clear the mind and just focus on my breathing. Finally, through a combination of ethereal weightlessness and sheer fatigue, sweet slumber kicks in.
When the music plays to signal the end of my session, I wake with that 'Where the hell am I?' sense of disorientation. After checking that I have both my kidneys and, indeed, haven't been kidnapped; I'm pleasantly surprised by how refreshed I feel. Also, the skin on my fingertips isn't wrinkled. What sorcery is this?
Yet the best part of the whole experience was the deep sleep that same evening. Lulled by sensory deprivation into a Zen state, I awoke the next day fully re-energised. Talk about hitting the reset button. I can see why it's popular with travellers as a remedy for jet lag or people suffering from insomnia.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. My only advice: keep it out of your eyes. Otherwise, instead of emerging from the pod rested and relaxed, you'll emerge wailing and weeping. Scream flick vibes again.