Buvette Masthead

Everything you need to know about float tanks

Ashleigh Went

When it comes to wellness, we’ve seen a huge surge in different technologies and treatments over the past few years.

Float tanks (or sensory deprivation tanks), however, have been around for decades. Their popularity has been steadily growing to the point where there are now a number of float studios across Canberra.

Here’s everything you need to know before dipping your toes into the float tank phenomenon.

What is a float tank?

A float tank is a tank filled with warm, salty water that’s designed to allow you to float weightlessly and silently in the darkness.

What do they do?

The idea is that by depriving you of your senses, you reach a state of total relaxation.

When it comes to the benefits of floating, there are some which have scientific evidence behind them, and others that are more anecdotal. Reported benefits include relaxation, relief of stress, anxiety, and pain, easing muscle tension, improving focus and concentration, increasing creativity and lowering blood pressure

Do they work?

What I can tell you is that I’ve found floating to be extremely relaxing and great for easing my anxiety. As someone who is a bit of an introvert with a very social job, I love ‘turning off’ for an hour and being left alone to recharge. Essentially, it forces you to relax – you can’t bring your phone in with you, you can’t turn on the TV – it’s just you and your thoughts.

I’m also a huge fan of Epsom salt baths – I find that they’re incredibly relaxing and help to relieve muscle soreness from the gym. The idea is that the magnesium from the salt is absorbed into your bloodstream from the skin, and with around 350 kilograms of Epsom salts in each float tank, there’s a lot to absorb.

Will I feel claustrophobic?

Probably not. I myself am quite claustrophobic (I once had to be escorted out of Wee Jasper Caves while having a panic attack, but that’s another story), however, I have never felt claustrophobic during a float. That’s due to two reasons.

Firstly, you have the freedom to open the door to your float tank at any point that you like. There’s even a light switch inside so that if you begin to freak out you can simply switch on the light, open the door and climb out.

The second thing is that when you’re inside the tank, you lose your bearings – not in an unpleasant way (like the feeling of vertigo) but rather a weightless, almost dreamlike sense. I personally felt like I was floating in a vast open space, as opposed to enclosed inside a tank.

What if I fall asleep?

While the aim of floating isn’t to fall asleep, I have definitely dozed off. But don’t worry about drowning—because of the high salt content of the water, you are incredibly buoyant and it’s almost impossible to turn over.

Is the water clean?

Yes. Each tank has a really high concentration of Epsom Salts which creates a sterile environment. Generally, the water is filtered after each float and overnight so you know it’s nice and clean for you to float in.

Each client is also asked to shower before hopping in the float tank, and the room is cleaned and replenished after every use.

What do I wear?     

Your birthday suit! It might seem odd to hop into the tank naked, but it enhances your sense of weightlessness and helps you reach a state of relaxation. Rather than having to worry about your bikini strings coming loose or straps rubbing against your skin, you can fully immerse yourself in the experience.

Where to find them

There are a few studios across Canberra, here are some of our favourites.

Wellness Empowerment Collective

This beautiful studio opened earlier this year and has quickly cemented its status as a one-stop-shop for luxury wellness treatments. Its menu of offerings runs long, and includes Cryotherapy, Canberra’s only Salt Room, and Infrared Sauna and massage. Their float tanks also offer DreamScapes—  sounds, music and guided imagery—to assist with everything from better sleep to quitting smoking.

Wellness Empowerment Collective currently have a $99 special (book a Float Tank session and add Infrared Sauna, Compex, Salt Room or Normatec for $14) as well as a special Open Day event coming up, so now is the perfect time to check out the space.

196 Mouat Street, Lyneham (inside the Hockey Centre) | wellnessempowerment.com.au | facebook.com/wellnessempowerment1

Astral Float

Astral Float have locations on both sides of the lake – their Phillip studio is even equipped with a wheelchair-accessible room for people with limited mobility (or those who don’t love the idea of being enclosed in a tank).

3/25 Dundas Court, Phillip & ‘The Hub’ 83/15 Braybrooke Street, Bruce | astralfloatstudio.com.au | facebook.com/astralfloatstudio

Pure Zen

This was my first float tank experience and introduced me to the treatment. The décor is really relaxing and there are amenities including makeup wipes and a Dyson hairdryer to help you return to the real world.

2/10-12 Dundas Court, Phillip | flotationcanberra.com.au | facebook.com/PureZenFlotation

Float Above

Tucked inside Phillip’s new Stellar Canberra, Float Above is co-located with a gym, pool, childcare centre, café and more.

50 Launceston Street, Phillip | floatabove.com.au | facebook.com/FloatAboveCanberra

Feature image and slider image of Wellness Empowerment Collective by Tawz Imagery.

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Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author

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