Loose-limbed. Unruffled. Calm. Fluid.
These are all things I associate with a truly relaxing holiday. You know, the kind where you reach a sort of ‘one-ness’ with the world from your prone position on the sun lounge. The kind where the most critical decisions may include shall I read or doze, am I hungry enough to be bothered moving to accommodate some sort of snacking, and is it cocktail o’clock yet. Where it takes effort to pull yourself back ‘together’ again in order to manage a) the trip home and b) contributing something beyond water cooler stories during the first week back at work.
Most of us save hard and schedule annual leave with military zeal to achieve this and, when it’s all done, find ourselves gazing wistfully at our fading tan lines and poring over travel websites to plan that next escape firmly in the foreseeable future.
Well this week, I managed to achieve this in the space of a couple of hours in South West London. On Thursday night I ventured just off Chiswick High Road, crossed the threshold into the world of Floatation Therapy and experienced the most profound relaxation ever.
People, welcome to Floatopia.
There are lots of benefits associated with floatation therapy including stress relief, detoxing, increased energy, improved concentration, relief from injuries, regulating sleeping patterns (one float apparently simulates 4 hours of sleep) and releasing Endorphins – the body’s natural pain killer and happy pill.
It is the most extraordinary experience to be completely with yourself in this way. I’ve never ‘mastered’ meditation, always with one ‘eye’ on the clock and feeling too impatient with the distractions of the mind and body. But I imagine this is what it must be – this total acceptance of everything: the itches, the niggles, the thoughts, the chatter and then the move back to stillness, silence and peace.
The background music started softly again to signal the end of my float. Feeling a bit disconcerted I fumbled for the light switch and stretched to establish the connection between limbs and brain again. My Floatopia ‘host’ had mentioned I might ‘feel like Jenny’ at the end of the float – whoever she is, I’d like to be Jenny a lot more often.
15 minutes later I was showered, dressed and in the chill out area feeling like I had spent a blissful two weeks on a beautiful beach somewhere.
All in about 2 hours and for the bargain Groupon voucher price of £17.
And to top it off, I slept the best sleep for years on Thursday night and continued into Friday, calm and unruffled, in the face of the end of the week commuting challenges.
Now that’s has to be the best value holiday I’ve ever had.