Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

Floating Away

The salty water gently lapped around him as he floated on the surface, gazing up into the inky blackness while the soft music gave way to perfect silence. It might well be a night time scene in the Mediterranean Sea but for the fact this was the heart of London. Floatworks near London Bridge, to be precise. I first came across their floatation isolation pods a few years ago but finally got round to trying them out myself. You have an entire room to yourself with an isolation tank taking up the bulk of the space. The water is saturated with Epsom salt so that, Dead Sea style, one floats with no effort whatsoever. The water and air are heated to a similar temperature so that, once settled, it becomes difficult to tell which parts of your body are submerged, lending the sensation that you are floating in air.

I won’t discuss floating in terms of potential health benefits, though some are claimed. I am no model for healthy living, but I realised a few years ago that my body largely takes care of itself and it is my mind that I have been neglecting. Routinely I use music to control my head but silence, particularly scarce in London, is a tool I rarely consider. Earplugs in, lid closed and lights out — the result is reminiscent of the sensory deprivation tank in which Daredevil sleeps in the film. The internal chatter rose at first, but gradually dropped to the point where I “lost” a period of around 15-20 minutes in the middle of my one-hour session in the tank without actually falling asleep. I left with an imperturbable calm, and travelling home on public transport I was uncharacteristically disinclined to pop in earphones as would be the norm.

I absolutely recommend it and will certainly return, though it doesn’t come cheap at £80 for three one-hour sessions (or £40 for one). But in a city where isolating oneself is virtually impossible, perhaps that’s not so great a price to pay.


  1. Did you get any hallucinations? Would you try it on acid?

  2. I didn’t experience any hallucinations, although I’ve heard the first time can vary a lot because it takes longer to get settled. Personally I’m not sure that the experience would mix particularly well with drugs (including just alcohol) though YMMV.

    I’m particularly keen to see whether it assists with lucid dreaming.

  3. Thank you for writing one of the shortest but most concise descriptions of the floating experience I’ve ever read.

    I’m a big fan of floating, having floated 100s of hours over the past 10 years, and I’m always interested in what other people online have to say about the experience.

    You’re invited to check out my Isolation Tank blog for a variety of articles and videos on the subject.

  4. Hi mate,

    Just accessed your site using w3m for the first time, it’s a nice change of pace in terms of web browsers.
    Definitely a great reminder that once upon a time HTML seperated form and content, so that it was up to the browser (and hence, to an extent, the reader) to decide how the page should look, just like LaTeX.
    And it looks like I’m doing work! Awesome!
    Now to try out some really bloated sites and see how they look.

    P.S. You seem to have a tendency to underline the space character after an underlined word. Never noticed it before though.
    P.P.S. I might be in Croydon soon.

  5. That said, having entered a comment here one ends up at a bit of a dead end, would be nice to have a link back to some sort of page!
    And I had a second chance “captcha” type thing, despite not having a first chance-slightly confused.

  6. Thanks for the feedback – I’ll try to look into those when I get the chance.

    The underlining thing is odd – sounds like a rendering issue. Nothing is underlined by default, it’s all CSS applied to links which do not include the following space.

    Do let me know when you’re back in Croydon – we’ve moved to a new flat but still in the same area.

  7. A compare and contrast reveals that underlining represents text shown in italics. I guess an italicised space doesn’t show up that well, whilst an underlined one does!
    From my recollection, WYSIWYG editors tend to unitalicise text if you try and change this, which is more than a bit annoying because that’s more restrictive than how HTML works – oh well…

    Haven’t booked the train tickets yet, but you just reminded me that I should! Looking up timetables text-only should be fun!

  8. And no captcha this time – funny!

  9. :)
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    The way it was written will surely get me to try it at least once in my life….


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"Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has."

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