I first tried floating about 3 years ago in a dingy basement in San Francisco at the insistence of a friend who swore by it. First impressions were not promising as the place we went to was not exactly where you want to be put into a tank and left in the dark. But the owner seemed to be nice enough and there was a friendly dog there, which is a good sign. #animalssenseevil The owner was well-versed in all the benefits of sensory deprivation and was patient in walking us through the steps and process as it was my first time. It was then I first understood the power of this weightless wonder.
The sensation is amazing. For the first few minutes, your brain will bounce around thinking about a million different things, but eventually, you simply lose track of your body and with conscious effort, you can quiet your mind leaving you in a state of unparalleled relaxation.
The water is set to the same temperature as the average human body so you don’t need to worry about getting cold or being too warm. Done right, the goal is for you to be completely content and forget your body exists. Because you float with all the salt water in the tank, unlike lying in bed, you won’t get a dead arm/shoulder/neck cramp. There is no pressure anywhere on your body, there is no need to fidget or adjust any position in your body.
This feeling of sensory deprivation is something you won’t experience anywhere else other than space! And before now, we were only able to book appointment at float tanks when we traveled back to the US.
Now, you too have the chance to try it in Beijing at AWA Health 爱瓦健康, which is located on the 4th floor of The Place Shopping Mall (CBD), in the south building above Costa Coffee. It is a much nicer set up than the one I first floated at and on top of this they also offer salt therapy to deal with the Beijing pollution. A session of 45 minutes in their salt therapy room is RMB 128.
“AWA Health is an Israeli invested company. We build the unique salt rooms with pure imported dead sea mineral salt. Step into the snow-white salt room, listen to the sea waves touching the coast, breathe in the salty air freely and let your mind and body be thoroughly healed and purified by the energy of nature.”
If you’re interested in reading more about salt therapy, you can check out this article here.
Located on the 4th Floor of The Place Shopping Mall (CBD)
Friendly Reception Area + Waiting Lobby
Salt Therapy Room with 2 Massage Beds
Salt Therapy Room with 4 Lounge Chairs
In addition to the two Salt Therapy Rooms, there are also two pods in separate private rooms complete with their own changing rooms and showers for Sense Deprivation Float Therapy. Upon arrival, you will have someone show you their different rooms before showing you to your private pod room. She will give you instructions for what to do and how your time will be allocated. They basically give you 90 minutes total which includes 15 minutes to prep before you get into your tank, an hour in your tank and another 15 minutes after your float experience to shower again and get dressed.
The process for floating is simple. You go into your own private changing room, which is attached to your private float tank room.
First things first – remove your clothing, remove any make-up from your face, take a shower to wash off any dirt from your body, then you put in ear plugs and apply vaseline over any cuts you might have (salt water stings!).
Private Changing Room
The Friendly Lady at Reception Brought me a Bottle of Eye Make-Up Remover and Cotton Pads
(All Face and Eye Make-Up Should be Removed before Your Float Experience)
Private Shower Next to Your Pod
They will give you about 10-15 minutes for the above steps and then they will notify you with some soothing music to let you know when you should be prepped and ready for your float therapy experience to begin.
When the music begins, you know that’s when you should be done with your shower and put in your ear plugs.
Then, you simply step into the pod, lay down gently and relax. Let go of any tension in your neck and shoulders, your head should float effortlessly without you straining your neck trying to lift your head. If you’re not comfortable leaning back, they also have a neck floatie for you to wear in the tank.
Once you finish, you get out of the float tank by lifting the lid and slowly getting up. Be careful not to get up too quickly or the salt water may trinkle down into your eyes. After you get out of the tank slowly (your body needs to readjust to the world of gravity) and you jump into the shower again to rinse away all the salt from your hair and body.
Then you bask in your new found state of relaxation.
AWA is clean and I was very impressed by the quality of shampoo, shower gel and lotions provided in each room. Instead of standard body lotion, they offer a silky, spray-on body oil with Jojoba seed oil, Vitamin E and cooling Chamomile extract along with a great hair serum oil that left my hair feeling silky smooth and incredibly soft. I’ve since Googled the brand and learned that Aqua Mineral is a premium brand of beauty care products that are based on Dead Sea salts and minerals, famous worldwide for their remarkable health and beauty benefits to promote the skin’s well being and counteract the effects of aging. The stuff is no joke – prices on their website for the body mist is USD$169 and hair serium is USD$239. I was planning to buy myself a bottle but I might just have to keep going back for more regular float experiences instead! Each float session is RMB 588 per person inclusive of 90 minutes (1 hour float experience + time for pre-and post-float prep).
The only problem as far as I’m concerned was that the tank wasn’t completely dark. I really enjoy the isolation, and if you do too, make sure you turn off any extra lights in the room before you get in the pod.
I highly recommend you try this out at least once. It is such an unusual feeling to experience in our modern world – no noise or movement or tension or feeling. After every float, I feel refreshed and incredibly relaxed and content. It’s a wonderful feeling to be weightless!
Contact Details for AWA Health:
- Address: 4th Floor above Costa Coffee on the South Building of The Place – L411, 4/F, Bldg 1, The Place, 9 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang District
- Chinese Address: 朝阳区光华路9号世贸天阶1号楼南街4层L411
- Address: Room 319, Building 16, Huamao, 89 Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District
- Chinese Address: 朝阳区建国路89号院华贸商务楼16号楼319
- Tel: 15810689660, 010 5200 8038
- Opening Hours: Open Daily from 10AM-10PM
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.