17 September 2018

Floating at Halo Floatation Centre, Newcastle

I've meaning to try flotation for ages and for some reason just haven't got around to it, but after a crappy past few months (family illness, my dog dying of cancer) I knew I needed some serious R & R. Some friends had mentioned Halo Floatation & Beauty in Cullercoats a while back, so I figured I could combine a visit with my weekly trip to the beach.

Flotation tank Newcastle
Halo is very close to the Metro in Cullercoats and easy to find
The salon is just five minutes walk from Cullercoats Metro station (there's ample parking just outside). Thankfully I received a warm welcome from Angela which was needed after I had just decided to jump into the freezing cold North Sea on a whim (don't ask). I took some time to compose myself and had a look at the treatment menu - I love the idea of a girly night where you can get into your PJs and have treatments with your friends. I read through the dos and don'ts for flotation (shower before and afterwards, use the earplugs, don't forget to take off all jewellery and whatever you do, don't touch your eyes with your hands when you're in there). 

So what is flotation therapy all about? It was invented in the 50s by a neuro-scientist called Dr John Lilly, and were originally called 'sensory deprivation' tanks. It's based on a scientific approach to deep relaxation called Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique or R.E.S.T. Flotation triggers a deep relaxation response, which is much deeper than normal sleep, and enables us to get into the elusive Theta state (no mean feat). The ocean float room at Halo is designed to block out all external distractions including light and sound. A float room is more spacious than a tank, and has an easy-to-use side opening door as opposed to the top hatch type lid common to traditional tanks (making the experience far less claustrophobic and more accessible for all).

flotation tank Newcastle
Like being back in the womb - the ocean float room is perfect place to switch off 
You might be wondering, how can you float in literally inches of water? You can thank a super-saturated Epsom salt solution, which is heated to 35.5 degrees (the same as your skin). This allows you to float effortlessly on the surface of the water. After being in the freezing cold sea, it felt so comforting to be so warm and cosy in the float room. I lowered myself in using the internal grab handles (safety first) and instantly fell in love with the feeling of weightlessness - I recommend using the inflatable neck rest to help you to float. For the first fifteen minutes there's gentle, relaxing music playing and then it goes silent for about forty minutes (you can tailor the sound and lighting to your own preferences).  I lost all sense of time very quickly and my mind went totally blank. There's a small light in there but after a while I decided to try total darkness, which was basically what I imagine it feels like to be back in the womb. I found that the high salt levels hurt my sensitive eyes a little bit about half way through, so I recommend leaving the door wide open for a while and soaking the face cloth provided in cold water from the shower to dab your eyes if you need to.

Floating boasts so many physical and mental health benefits, including boosted immunity, reduced blood pressure, pain relief, stress relief, improved mental clarity, better sleep and relief from painful skin conditions. When the time was up I felt like I'd been in the tank for hours, and that I was waking up from a very long, deep sleep. You can also combine your flotation session with other treatments such as a back massage or a facial. I can't wait to go back and totally zone out again! (I think I'll get my nails done too). 

Flotation sessions are £35 for sixty minutes (or £20 an hour on Wednesdays). Or you can block book three sessions for £90 (saving £15) or six for £150 (saving £45). 

To find out more about Halo Floatation and Beauty please visit their Facebook page 

*I received a floatation treatment in exchange for a review 

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