We live in a world of interconnectedness, a world where we will never be left alone. To a certain extent, our inner psyche has been irreversibly damaged by technology.
Validation by ‘likes’, ‘retweets’ and ‘social media followers’, is a recent phenomenon that distorts how we perceive our relationships. That constant drone of technology leaves us disparate from our inner well-being.
Over the weekend, I decided to reconnect with myself, by disconnecting from the world for an hour… How? By floating in a coffin-like sensory deprivation pod, filled with Epsom salts and water, guided by a beam of light that morphs with the push of a button.
This futuristic treatment deprives the body of any sensation and allows one to float in (near) zero-gravity conditions.
During a float, the high concentration of Epsom salts absorbed boasts beneficial properties such as Magnesium (in the salts) filling the gaps of a deficient diet, and supposedly goes some way in preventing cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, detoxification, body aches.. The list goes on.
As Joe Rogan, famed jack-of-all-trades, puts it: “Your muscles sort of lengthen out in the “zero-gravity” atmosphere.“
Sounds strange enough, doesn’t it. Wait till you hear what others have to say about it.
“First I lost awareness of my limbs. Then my body. And then suddenly, I’m reduced to nothing more than a kernel of pure awareness. Floating, in the cosmos.” – Hamilton Morris, for VICE
All this isn’t mere hipster mumbo-jumbo. Scientific experiments by John C. Lilly in the 1950s hypothesizes that the human brain is independent of external factors, and if left alone, the brain would go into extreme sleep mode. To that end, John created a sensory deprivation tank for psychedelic research, focused on isolating experiences in unbiased settings.
Singapore’s first-ever sensory deprivation tank was not widely publicized, having been confined to the realm of medical treatment or relegated to secondary offerings in spa treatment centres. Palm Ave Float Club hopes to change that, and bring floatation to the masses.
Palm Ave Float Club’s owner, Derrick Foo, began his self-discovery of floatation in USA, then proceeded to have out-of-the-world experiences in Taiwan. Realizing that there was no dedicated floatation centre in Singapore to continue his float journey, he was prompted to start his very own Float Club from the workings of his own home at Palm Ave.
“But don’t get stuck with those (ideas). I’ve abandoned them. It’s impossible. Because there are infinities within the mind” – John C. Lilly MD., conciousness Researcher
Bootstrapping the venture has worked well for him. Palm Ave Float Club has shifted to its new premises at 20 Waringin Road. Expansion plans aside, Derrick stands by the mantra of wanting to start a movement of silencing “clashes of egos” and to “get rid of mind fog“.
Enter the Void
My journey into nothingness started with a shower to rinse off excess oils. Stepping in and closing the lid of the pod upon myself, felt strangely surreal, as though I had entered the ‘matrix’.
The session started with soothing music. Initial thoughts were directed to my blister which tingled to the touch of Epsom salts, but this was soon forgotten and my thoughts were refocused on the silent counting of my heart beat.
Some had intense revelations: My first float, was a pure, unadulterated high. It’s a peak experience that I keep looking forward, over and over again. It opened a lot of mental space to explore. Others, had slightly disturbing encounters: I got in touch with my inner creepy weirdo, whom I never thought was a part of me… I heard a Gollum voice, that said “kill it”.
To achieve peak experience, where there is a complete lack of sensation in skin and body, it is advisable to pay attention to basic ground rules. It is absolutely essential to empty your bowels before stepping into the pod. Aside from the fact that accidentally peeing midway through your session could set you back $1000 (for the replacement of the Epsom salts), any unwanted stomach churning will distract the body from entering into extreme recovery mode.
Refrain from shaving 12 hours to the float, as your sensitive skin might tingle when it touches the Epsom salt. If you have small wounds, coating it with vaseline helps, or it might be better to wait till your wounds are fully healed before immersing yourself in the pod.
Also, dry your face completely, so salt water won’t stick to your face and cause eye irritation. Lastly, lean back completely and enjoy the float, or risk suffering a stiff neck.
As I continued counting diligently, my mind strayed to my to-do-list, and the residual research I had left behind from the night before. My mind flit to thoughts about my next adventure, and what I wanted to have for lunch after. After a considerable amount of time, my mind quietened, and I floated off into oblivion.
Quite literally a state of quietness, with me, myself and I.
It was not long before I heard the soft churn of music, indicating that my session was coming to an end. A gentle, metallic coo, “Your session is over“, snapped me out of dreamscape.
In that instant, my limbs felt strangely immobilized. After swishing around in the pod for a few moments, I summoned my awkward limbs to push open the pod, and step back onto land.
Commentators have described the sensation as “cleansing the doors of perception“, or “like a baby coming out of a womb.” Coupled with meditation, it could possibly be the most intimate experience to have with oneself.
Fresh Off the Float
Derrick is intrigued by the creative free-flow of ideas that spews forth from individuals who are fresh off the float. All these ramblings are contained in Palm Ave Float Club’s guest book, so be sure to take a peek, and be inspired. The possibilities post-float, are after all, endless.
Thanks for the hospitality, Derrick and Sarah.
Palm Ave Float Club
20 Waringin Park, Singapore 416333
Introductory pack: three 60minute floats at $165 / $70 for a 60 minute float / $85 for a 90 minute float / $210 for three 90 minute floats
Open from Monday – Sunday, 10.00am to 10.00pm
Book here or call +65 9151 6004 (Derrick)