Floatation therapy in Singapore: What it’s like inside a sensory deprivation tank at Palm Ave Float Club
Think of the last time you spent an hour doing absolutely nothing.
Meditation may come to mind, but even the light and sound around you can be a source of distraction. The best solution, offered by Palm Ave Float Club, is depriving your senses in a floatation tank.
Floating is not a new phenomenon. Neuroscientist Dr John C Lilly invented floatation therapy in the 1950s. He discovered that in the absence of sensory input in the tank, the mind and body can receive optimal relaxation and rest. This offers a variety of benefits that span the physical, such as reducing back pain and quickening muscle recovery, and the mental, like soothing anxiety and boosting focus.
At the bright and restful lounge of the Palm Ave Float Club, which is nestled in a quiet space within the Lavender Street district, there is a guide for first-time floaters and introductory videos on what to expect. Six Dream Pods are available, with each private room holding one pod, although with the social restrictions at press time, the club could only admit a total of three guests at any one time. It would be a relief for claustrophobes to know that the pod measures 2.1m long and 1.4m – the most spacious in the industry.
To prepare for your float, start by inserting the provided silicone earplugs – necessary to prevent saltwater from entering your ears – while your ears are still dry. Jump into the shower and rinse yourself thoroughly to ensure that natural body oils or products are removed. While you can wear swimwear, you’re advised to float naked as clothing is another form of sensory input. Turn off the room lights, climb in and pull the pod handle down to close it. At 34.5 deg C, the water is kept at skin temperature to allow you to settle in effortlessly.
Those who fear being trapped accidentally would be glad to know that the pod does not lock and is easily opened by pushing on its handle. It is also wide enough for you to stretch your arms and legs, and for the petite, to paddle around. There is no risk of drowning, as the water is extremely shallow at a depth of 30cm. It also contains 600kg of Epsom salt so you will remain fully buoyant.
Music will play for the first 10 minutes, after which you are immersed in silence and darkness after you turn off the lights. Now it’s time to stretch out, do some breathing exercises, and even drift off to sleep (don’t worry, you will not sink). Apart from the obvious benefits to your mental state, the weightlessness and easing of tension also improve blood circulation, resulting in the relief of muscular aches that can even last for a few days. This experience also helps to improve posture as it elongates the spine in the gentlest way possible. The bottom line? The more you float, the better you will feel.
Palm Ave Float Club, #05-01 66 Kampong Bugis, 9151 6004
(Main and featured image: Mickael Gresset/Unsplash; all other images: Palm Ave Float Club)