In Conversation With Chris - Float away with the owner of Float Level, Manchester
S: How did you get to know about floating? What was your first thought of it?
C: Years ago I had a really stressful job in London, which led me to bad shoulders. I originally wanted to float to see if it would help loosen up my shoulder so I went down to a centre called Float Works, had my first float. It was amazing for my shoulders! The float loosens everything up. When I was I there, my mind went into a completely blank, claim and soothing state. I felt like a brand new me when I came of out the tank. Simply amazing. I just didn’t understand why everyone wasn’t doing it. So I did some more, had some more experiences and then I decided to open up this Float Level in Manchester.
S: Do you have any ‘magical’ story from yourself or your customers that you would love to share with our readers?
C: I got a lot of customers with very interesting experiences, things like childhood and memories they have forgotten completely. I have one guy who when he was in there, he ended up in the long corridor walking down, just like a hotel corridor. He walked into rooms, and behind every room there were a part of his life. He had family in one room, friend in another, his job and his girlfriend. He got to see the state of his life, and see what’s important and prioritised. He came out and he said that was the most amazing thing he has ever done. Actually I got a very interesting blog where customers share their experiences, and the one I just mention is on there too. There are a whole lot other stories on there and they are all very very interesting.
S: Many people including my boyfriend are scared of the floating experience at the first time. They were like “Oh, I cant do it” “It’s gonna be so bored” “I could have done something productive.” What would you say to somebody who would have this reaction?
C: I think in general for most people at first they are a little bit either nervous or sort of comprehensive. Someone obviously are scared of closing themselves in and turning the light off. What I thought is that pretty much everyone find it difficult for the first ten minutes. However as you said, the time flies very very quickly, you ended up almost like a dream like state. Then all the sudden the section ended and you came out to the light, were like “Oh wow! That was amazing, I wish I had more time in there. You know, so generally I’d say don’t try to do anything. Just try to let go and treat it as a way of relaxation and see where your mind takes you. Rather than telling people they may have an important revelation that may not happen, better just ask them to let go and just basically see while given a chance and don’t sort of think too much about it. We will get too scared about it just go with it. Like I said, maybe less than 1 % of people would get out after 15 mins. So are a very very small number of people who just cant let go and get through. Most people do become more confortable in there.
S: How can we get to the stage of ‘seeing things’?
C: If you are there and you are very relax, you eyes are open and your mind will try to form some image. So you will get colours and white lights, with very complex shapes and stuffs. The important trick is don’t try to focus on it; you just have to let it develop. If you try to focus, it goes away. So let it happen and it will develop into a very complicated view.
S: What kind of people do you see come in and out more often, and do you see the change of pattern or an increase of customers throughout these years?
C: Basically all, all types of people, all age group, people in the 60s 70s suffering from a variety of muscular joint pain. And I get a lot of professional sportsman, people interested in yoga, meditation this sort of thing and obvious lots of young people who are trying to figure things out, discover things. Also people with anxiety, depression, ptsd, etc. For the customer figure, I’ve opened this place for three and a half year, the first six months were fine, quite quiet. Adrfter that six months, it just increase exponentially. Therefore I added the third pods around a year ago. From then it was always fully booked and I am about to expend the site to the next door and I would like to get two more pods. So it is kind of like the more people come, the more they spoke to their friends. I don’t advertise at all but it still full everyday. One of this thing is that once people hear their friends has done it, they will get less scared about. Whenever you just read about it or something, you don’t actually know that person and you were like a bit scared of that, argh I don’t know. But if your friend has been there and said it was good, you were a bit more relax, daring to try.
S: Is there any risk to stay in the tank for too long?
C: Not really. The only thing for this one is after a certain time and temperature the water drop to a point there might make you feel a little cool and that kind of takes you out of the feeling of loosing your body, you can feel your body. Really that’s the only limitation. I offer longer section like two hours, maybe once a month. I’ve had a guy come in and done five hours at most. When you were in there, you’d noticed that your skin doesn’t dry out, because the salted water is super hydrated. You can lie in there forever and you skin will still feel so soft afterwards.
S: What is the longest hour you’ve ever done
C: Me personally, the longest hour I’ve done would be about three and a half hour. I know in the Float Works, the one in London, (I don’t know if they still do it) they used to do overnight float, from midnight until early in the morning. I think the way they did it was do to a two four-hours sections floating, so you do four hours, come out and maybe go to the loo or something, and come back and do the other four hours. And then go off to work.
S: This is the last question and it might sound a bit cliché. I often hear people talk about how they enjoy using cannabis or LSD before floating. I’m curious what is your thought on using hallucinogenic drugs before floating?
C: I’d say obviously when you float for the first time, I would not normally recommend doing anything drugs. It’s best to just get a feel of everything, a nice sober feel of experience. With cannabis, it can be very useful your mind to be peaceful and quiet, isn’t as busy as sober. You are able to sink into it a bit more physically with a very nice easy flow. What I would say about that it’s very easy to get into and the feeling is very nice. The mental experience is less interesting because your mind is less active. So you don’t experience as much as like a dream life or everything, is more just nice blank clam experience.
With the LSD, it is going to take you over, provide you with the mental stimulation when you’re in the tank. I guess not having any physical distraction of the body, as you can’t sense your body at all while you are in the tank, can intensify the experience of LSD. The group of people who created the float tank, famously John C. Lilly. Back in the 50s he did a lot of experiments with LSD and ketamine, he floated for 15 hours, a very long period with very high does of LSD. I would’t say I would recommend that as it is gonna be too far, but I think once your mind is at ease, even if you haven’t taken any drugs, that experiences would happen as well, even if it’s just your intense and enriching mental experience.
So basically LSD gives you mental experiences while cannabis gives you physical.
However if you are the paranoid type of cannabis user, that you know you’d feel paranoid after smoking up, the tank might not be a good place to be. But if you are not prone to paranoid then it can be a really nice experience