Sensory Deprivation at Float On: Hong Kong’s First Float Centre
From yoga to meditation, Hong Kong is increasing its abundance of stress-relief techniques to melt away stress and anxiety in an ever-bustling city. The idea of “floating” is a sensory deprivation concept which submerges you in a tank of saltwater to indulge in self-reflection. We visited Hong Kong’s first float centre, Float On, to experience an hour of deep relaxation in a private pod during a post-work unwinding session.
Float On is situated on Caine Road in mid-levels, Central. The generously proportioned space is hidden down a flight of blue-painted stairs—scattered with John Lennon quotes as you enter, who was once an advocate for float meditation.
Floating is believed to relieve stress and anxiety through its elimination of external stimulation. The practice takes place in a 500kg-infused pod of water, for total buoyancy and reduction of gravity to keep you at float. A lot of clients also visit the wellness centre to help aching muscles—the therapy helps to rejuvenate the nervous system and the spine through the balancing of your body against the water. The main reasons for visiting the float is for improving performance and creativity, reducing stress and anxiety, curing jetlag, muscle pains, and overall meditation—the space is open to beginners and recommended to be practiced regularly for the best results.
This was my first time visiting a floatation tank but I haven’t had much prior experience in meditation at all. My main goal was to find a place for headspace to reflect and unwind my thoughts without any distractions like my mobile phone or computer—the pod seemed like the ideal situation for that. I started by taking a shower in the floatation room, using the brand’s customised salt body wash to prepare for the float. Everything is done in your own time and privacy which was nice and a great way to settle into the space and calm my mind from a day at the office. I entered the floatation tank and closed the lid, but kept the lights on for a while to get used to the sensory deprivation.
After a while of floating, I turned off the light to experience total darkness and be surrounded by only my thoughts and breathing. It was quiet and my mind was wandering a lot—I was quite fidgety, to begin with, but I eventually adjusted to it and felt a lot more relaxed. At some points, I got water in my eyes and face—it was super salty, so be careful with getting your face wet because it does sting! The inside of the tank has a water spray to get the saltwater off so I had to use this quite a lot at the beginning. Eventually, I became more comfortable in the float and spent the rest of my time dozing in and out of sleep.
Does it work? For me, I have a very wandering mind so I found it took longer for me to get used to the environment—something that I need to work on personally to calm down my thoughts. Once I got used to being in the water pod, I did start to feel more relaxed and could feel my muscles and body being released from tension which was a great way to soothe any aches. The floatation therapy is definitely something that needs consistent practice to get the most effective results—I’m definitely up for trying it again on a more regular basis to achieve the mindful effects, on top of the body tension relief.
Opening Hours: Every day 9:00 – 21:00