A couple of weeks ago on a Friday night, while singing “Floating, floating, floating…” (think “Rawhide”) to myself, I fought my way through rainstormy Amsterdam towards Koan Float. I’d been meaning to book a float session for years but never did so, until now.
Upon entering the building, I was greeted by an employee who, after I hung up my coat and stashed my shoes in the shoe rack, explained to me how everything works. You’re supposed to float by yourself and completely naked – no bathing suits allowed. Thankfully for the people who are not fans of “being-naked-around-others”, the floating cabins are each in a private, lockable room with a private shower.
I got assigned a room, took off all my clothes, put some vaseline on the small cuts I had on my fingers (I’m a pro at picking at my cuticles), put in my ear plugs (which they recommend you do), took a short shower (this is mandatory) and stepped into the cabine.
The cabine is 2.10 meters (approximately 6’11”) long, 1.60 meters (approximately 5’3”) wide and 1.55 meters (approximately 5’0”) high, so I (1.68/5’6”) had enough space to move around in. You can also decide to not close the lid. I chose to close the lid and turn the radio off, but kept the light on in the beginning. I also checked the exact locations of the intercom and the emergency button, not only to be prepared but also to make sure I didn’t push them on accident. The water was warm and it felt really strange at first: unlike at the pool, I didn’t have to do anything to keep floating.
After a while, my neck and shoulders started to cramp up. I was warned that this could happen and that there was a rubber floatation ring that I could use as a pillow located in the cabin. I was also warned not to get any of the water in my eyes, but of course I managed to do that anyway: while sitting up to grab the ring, I automatically wiped my wet hair off my face and got some water in my eye. It wasn’t The Worst Pain Ever, but it was unpleasant enough: Not recommended
Back on my float I closed my eyes and for a while there expected to hear the familiar voice of the MRI technician going “Let’s begin! Breathe in… and out… hold your breath… [10 seconds] and continue breathing”, but this stopped as soon as I turned off the lights. Then things went really fast: After what felt like 5 minutes, I heard an actual voice through the intercom gently telling me that it was time to get out of the cabin. I assume I must have fallen asleep at some point.
Once I – carefully! – had gotten myself out of the cabine, I took another shower to get all of the salt off my body and out of my hair. I put my clothes back on and went into the waiting room, where I had some fancy filtered water, after which I – as chill as I can possibly be – travelled back home through a very wet and windy Amsterdam.
The tl;dr version:
- Super nice employees;
- Complete privacy: you have to be naked, but not around other people;
- The cabin is (way more) spacious (than an MRI machine);
- Effortlessly floating takes some getting used to – mentally;
- The water is really really really salty and hurts when it gets in your eyes, so don’t do that;
- Related: Do put vaseline on little cuts you might have (there’s a tube of it at your disposal in your room);
- Once I was comfortable in the cabine, I lost all track of time;
- I’m definitely doing this again.
If anyone has questions about floating and/or personal experiences with floating, please write them in the comments, either here or on Instagram!
Note: Like all my posts in the “Get out of the house!” series, this activity was booked and paid for by me, after which I got stoked and decided to write about it all by myself.
Next week it’s time again for the monthly round up! See you on Wednesday!