Clambering through a submarine-like door, you will feel a bit like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole to Wonderland.
Except instead of the bright colours of Wonderland you might experience the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis, or you might feel suspended in space, or encased in concrete.
You will also do it in complete darkness and silence.
These are only some of the experiences you might encounter during flotation therapy, an emerging mindfulness practice. Flotation therapy has been described as akin to meditation or mindfulness in yoga, a practice to help quiet the mind.
It involves sensory deprivation, magnesium-infused water and time.
Flotation therapy’s mental health benefits have been researched in peer-reviewed articles, which show floating leads to less stress and more energy, along with the added physical benefits.
The practice is used by the Australian Institute of Sport to aid muscle recovery and injury recovery in athletes.
Liquid Zen, which operates from House of Prana in Charles Street, is one of only three flotation therapy businesses in the world to offer flotation therapy with a difference.
“We offer what we call float rooms, they are much larger than standard float pods,” Liquid Zen owner Kate Hindmarsh said.
Float rooms at Liquid Zen are two-metre square pods with lights on the ceiling that imitate stars in the night sky, and water lights. Both lights can be operated remotely.
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Ms van den Bosch and Ms Hindmarsh both fell in love with the building after coming to yoga there. They had also both recently become interested in flotation therapy and came up with the idea to run it from the House of Prana.
“When we were doing our research we were looking and trying all the different types of float pods in the United Kingdom,” co-owner Jenny van den Bosch said.
“At first, I couldn’t get into the pods,” she said.
The pair soon embarked on a research project to find out all they could about flotation therapy and they found a statistic that surprised them.
“We found nearly 50 per cent of people would look at a float pod and decide not to use it because they appeared too small,” Ms van den Bosch said.
“But we wanted to be as inclusive as possible and not ostracize half of the market – which is why we decided on the float rooms.”
Liquid Zen has been operating since 2018 and has set up shop in the premises formerly occupied by the Roman Baths.
However, the history of public bathing and water therapy in the building has left a physical mark on House of Prahna.
The old baths are still intact underneath the floor to the yoga studio that occupies the space and plans for the business are also etched into the wall of the old squash court.
“We have had people say they process intense emotions while in there, that it gives them the space to process the things they haven’t had the time to do before,” she said.
“It’s an incredible healing process.”
Launceston-based GP Johannes Schonborn first encountered flotation therapy in Europe 30 years ago.
“I never thought that I would see it here but I did and now I am hooked,” he said.
Dr Schonborn floats once or twice a month, and says he uses it for both physical and mental benefits.
“I suffer from muscular-skeletal problems, so I find that it helps so much with the pain from that. I go in feeling sore and come out feeling good,” he said.
“It’s such a unique way to combine mental and physical relaxation at once.”
Dr Schonborn said it was well acknowledged that today’s society was fast-paced and that as a result many people’s brains were overstimulated. “Floating” is the perfect antidote, he said.
He said there was no other mindfulness practice that treated both the body and the mind at once.
“I can recommend it to anyone who is feeling stressed,” he said.
As a medical professional, who works in a high-stress environment, Dr Schonborn said flotation therapy helped him to reset and relax, as well as treating his physical ailments.
He said he had floated in both pods and rooms and found the spacious rooms more accommodating but enjoyed both.
Flotation therapy for Dr Schonborn is about taking that time out to relax and he said he particularly enjoyed the sensory deprivation.
“Each time I float it’s different, for example, time passes differently each time. Sometimes it seems to drag on for a while, then the next time it will feel like minutes.”
Flotation therapy was inclusive to everyone and has the ability to help anyone, he said.
Ms Hindmarsh said the effects of flotation therapy was accumulative, so the more someone came along the better they would feel.
The water used in the pods is infused with Epsom Salts, magnesium the business imports from Germany and it’s the salts that give people buoyancy.
Magnesium is absorbed by the body and it can aid the recovery of physical injuries.
“You will always feel better afterwards than when you came in.”