Point Zero, a boutique relaxation centre that set up shop in Abu Dhabi in 2013, has opened in Dubai. While the centre now has a loyal client base in the capital, the concept – relaxing in a tank filled with warm salt water – is still to catch on in the rest of the UAE. We went to the new Dubai branch to check out its float pod, which offers an intense form of therapy in a small, closed, water-filled unit, and returned with a feeling of wellness. Here are six reasons to give the experience a try.
It is difficult for most of us to find enough leisure time in today's hectic world. Even when you're lying on the bed enjoying a deep-tissue massage, your mind still wanders to the rest of the things you could have been doing with that hour (you know it's true). The float pod, filled with water and heated between 34.8°C to 35.2°C, takes relaxation to a whole new level: it forces you to be patient and, after about 20 minutes, you find yourself really letting go – utter bliss.
This may sound somewhat torturous but actually, as the acronym Rest (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) indicates, hanging out in a tiny, restricted environment can prove to be quite therapeutic. Floating in the pod with the lights switched off (or on, if it feels like a tad too much sensory deprivation), the sights and sounds of the world shut out completely, is the most restful feeling. For those who don’t want to lie in complete silence, music can be requested.
When you are truly relaxed, your brain activity slows from the rapid patterns of being wide-awake, or what is also known as a beta state, into the more gentle waves of an alpha state. Being weightless in the water triggers this change and your awareness expands. Fears vanish, creative energy begins to flow and you experience a liberating sense of peace and well-being. The alpha state is a common recommendation for the treatment of stress and can have the same rejuvenating effects as sleep. For example, spending 60 to 90 minutes in the tank can feel like you’ve had six to eight hours of shut-eye.
Relief from muscle and joint pain
Another benefit of floating is that it takes almost all of the pressure and weight off the joints and muscles, thus allowing you to relax and heal. This is particularly helpful to athletes as it helps to clear lactic acid, cortisone and adrenalin build-up that occurs either through training or performance.
Flotation has also been shown to loosen the muscles, accelerate the recovery process and release endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkiller.
The reason you float so effortlessly in the flotation tank is that the water is saturated with Epsom salts – a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium sulphate.
Both of these substances are absorbed through your skin as you float and can actually supplement your diet with magnesium, a mineral that has been shown to be deficient in the average diet. Magnesium regulates enzyme activity and can help to reduce inflammation as well as prevent cardiovascular disease. Sulphates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush out toxins and help to ease migraines and headaches.
Floating, like laughing, induces the release of endorphins and leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite and enhancement of the immune response.
As with regular exercise, regular flotation sessions can train your brain to release endorphins on a sustained basis, which results in a more consistent state of happiness, relaxation and positive energy levels.
Point Zero is in Sky Gardens Tower, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai (04 457 9991); and on 12th Street in Abu Dhabi (02 445 5775). Float pod treatments cost from Dh350 for 60 minutes to Dh490 for 120 minutes. Packages and group flotation sessions are also available; prices vary. Email pointzerofloatation.com or visit www.pointzerofloatation.com for more details