Magnesium is a magnificent mineral for our wellbeing in preventing migraines and osteoporosis, increasing energy, encouraging sleep and relieving muscle aches to name just a handful of benefits. However, 80% of adults are estimated to be deficient, including myself as per a heavy metals test I performed last year. Deficiency can cause cardiovascular, kidney or liver damage, impotence, insomnia, muscle cramps and more. I have therefore been supplementing with magnesium pills, or more enjoyably, taking a daily evening bath with magnesium sulphate, otherwise known as Epsom salts. These are readily absorbed by the skin as per this study from the University of Birmingham. I usually add 1-2 cups to my bath most nights, along with some essential oils, turning on the Headspace app to decompress and meditate.
Imagine my delight therefore to find out that there is a place in Hong Kong (with many other sites across the world) where you can bathe in FIVE HUNDRED KILOGRAMS of Epsom salts, and in total safety also because your body will expel any excess magnesium. It puts my nightly 1-2 cups to shame! This place is Float On, on the Caine Road, which comprises 4 pods, each in a separate room with its own shower.
After showering, you step into the floatation tank and pull the lid down. It's the size of a very large bath, and even with the lid closed, I didn't feel claustrophobic, however, if you are prone to this phobia, you can leave the lid open. Soft colour fading lighting can be turned on or off if you choose, which I did, to fully embrace the experience in pitch darkness.
Are you sure I am going to float??? That was my biggest concern, which appears to be fairly common. Yes, you will! The sheer volume of salt means that your legs will immediately begin to rise for your flotation experience to begin. Provided is an inflatable head rest if required, but I managed to float on my back, with my arms dangled above my head, ears submerged but wearing ear plugs. My tummy muscles (the few there are!) remained tense for a few minutes as I gained confidence in my ability to float, after which I totally relaxed and even nodded off a few times!
I was suitably warned by the Float On staff to avoid touching my face at all costs. Any water in the eye might sting with that amount of salt in the water. The first session was successful in this regard as i "rode out" any itches. Second session, I got a little complacent, itched my nose at one point, and dripped salt in my eyes. Ouch! Luckily they provide a dry towel and water spray inside to sort yourself out. It didn't sting for long. The third time I went, I stuck to my strict policy "no itching" and managed to avoid salty eyes.
Clearly, magnesium absorption is not the only reason to visit Float On. The sound proofed rooms and pods provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of the outside world allowing you to relax and and engage in whatever mindfulness you choose. Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I had never meditated but I am now trying to fit in a few minutes every day, so Float On was an ideal venue to put this into practice.
Emerging from the tank was accompanied by a feeling I have never previously experienced, and while I have searched high and low for the right adjective here, "floaty" seems to nail it best! That restful and content feeling continued for the remainder of the day, and I definitely felt happier than when I arrived, sleeping better that night also.
While I visited Float On for the first and third time alone, the second time I went with three girlfriends. It's in a convenient location for a spot of supper beforehand (we chose Maison Libanaise on the escalator, trying in vain not to gorge ourselves for fear of sinking!) and it's always fun to compare notes afterwards. That said, I relaxed far more by going alone, possibly due to my lifetime chronic condition of FOMO (fear of missing out) meaning I felt more like chatting to my friends than floating by myself! You certainly can't chat and float here as the pods are in separate rooms. And yes, it's best if you are naked by the way, so there is more skin surface area exposed to the salts.
Would I return? Absolutely... We all cram far too much into our little lives and are prone to neglecting ourselves at the emotional level, so making some me-time to engage in mindfulness while absorbing such an important mineral is definitely to be embraced, especially as the silly season approaches. Float On offers a walk in price of $630 for an hour's float, or $1350 for an introductory 3 float pack. There are also membership prices which you can view here. Address is 89 Caine Road, Mid Levels and open daily 9am-11.30pm with earlier bookings possible if made in advance.
Read here about more natural therapies I have been engaging in to support myself through cancer treatment and general wellbeing.