Take a weightless tour
A house for one or two. [Photo/en.study-shanghai.org]
The city of Shanghai found a way recently to take its visitors on a weightless tour, without the slightest bit of light, or sound, or the touch of the body, in total darkness. What?
It’s FloatEssence, in the Changning district, but it’s only for those with plenty of curiosity and courage and sweeps away all physical sensation from outside by floating in a box devoid of light or sound, in salt water at body temperature.
It comes with four types of boxes -- open floating for one, a house for one or two, an enclosed box for one, and a larger enclosed box with shining stars at the top.
The body remains flat, floating in the Epsom salt solution with high concentrations of magnesium sulfate, and without any distractions to trigger a response, the brain will start to respond and might create its own sounds, or images or bodily responses.
The experience offers a taste of weightlessness, similar to that of being in outer space and could be seen as a fast, effective way to get away from the stress of a busy life, or, according to one person who underwent the experience, Cindy Kuan: “It began to feel like drifting in outer space, with my horizon expanding and some red lights sparkling in distant corners. Some colored lights and phantoms appeared like a 3D screen. There seemed to be whispers in my ear that kept haunting me. I had to turn on the lights just to make sure everything was just ok.”
The open floating for one. [Photo/en.study-shanghai.org]
What to do
Since floating is quite an unusual experience, people need to be prepared. For example:
1. Prepare yourself physically and mentally. Make sure you have no wounds on the skin. Don’t eat or drink too much beforehand.
2. Staff members provide essential oils to ease headache, insomnia, muscular pain, and to help you relax.
3. There are buttons within arm’s reach that will open the door, turn on the light and music, or for an emergency call.
4. Because it is difficult to focus after floating, public transport is suggested as the best form of transportation.
A large floating pool for multiple people. [Photo/en.study-shanghai.org]
The manager says that the curative effect of one hour of floating is equal to eight hours of sleep, so people undergoing the experience soon fall into a subconscious state that appears in deep sleep, which is recommended for busy bees who work too much or people with arthritis, muscular tension, spinal ailments, or insomnia.
FloatEssence: Room 1-1, 96 East Ronghua Ave, Changning district, Shanghai.
Cost: 200-300 yuan per person.