Ireland’s original flotation therapy centre is located in Dundonald, not far from Stormont. It is called Hydro-Ease and was founded by Vivian McKinnon, a mental health expert with a passion for improving the lives of others.
Floatation therapy has been proven to manage stress, anxiety and the effects of trauma. But it is not just for people with injury, anyone can visit this place if they want to relax or detox. This is reflected in the range of clients who use the facility. To date, visitors to the centre have ranged in age from 5 to 83 years old!
I first heard of this floatation centre from Vivian. She was giving a talk to a large audience in Ulster Bank, telling them of the benefits of floating.
I found her talk extremely interesting as I had never heard of floatation therapy. I knew I needed to experience it for myself. So, a few weeks later I booked myself in for a float. It was a fantastic experience.
But first, what exactly is Floatation Therapy?
Essentially, flotation therapy is a way of achieving a body and mind reset, by spending an hour or more lying quietly in total silence and darkness (although you can add music and soft lighting if you desire).
You basically get into a big bath or tank in a cabin filled with 25cms of water and half a tonne of Epson salt.
The Epsom salt and water are mixed together to allow a ‘zero gravity’ experience, so you literally are floating on top of the water.
This takes away the feeling of gravity weighing you down. Many compare it to the experience of ‘floating in outer space’ or “being back in the womb”.
By limiting the forces against your body, and no light or sound, you are deprived of many of your normal senses. This means that your brain is stripped of all sensory distractions.
The idea behind removing these distractions from your mind and body is so that every fibre of your being can fully relax.
Now that we’ve explained the basic concept of floatation, let’s get into the five reasons we feel you need to visit Hydro-Ease
1 – It helps you de-stress
I find it hard to switch off after a typical day’s work. I spend most of my day monitoring my website, coming up with ideas for new content and managing everything that comes with running a business.
There’s rarely an hour of my day that passes where I don’t think of something related to work. It is pretty much 24/7. Anyone who runs a business knows this. Burnout is real and shouldn’t be brushed off.
The day of my visit was a working day and went straight after work. I felt that the floatation was beneficial in completely switching off and I felt calm and rejuvenated afterwards.
I was so calm and enjoyed it so much that I switched my phone off for the rest of the evening and stayed away from the digital world.
Indeed, Vivian has many business clients who use the facility to de-stress. Business people benefit from floating as it helps to eliminate stress and remove the impact on the body of the pressurised business environment.
2 – It helps you calm your thoughts
Like most people in this modern world, I rarely get time to myself without any distractions. Even at home, there is always light and sound around me alerting my senses. Whether it be the TV, the lamp or the radio, light and sound is forever present during my waking hours.
As a result, I rarely get any time to sit and be at one with my own thoughts.
You learn a lot about yourself when you are at one with your own thoughts. You learn your fears, insecurities and also, what makes you happy.
I believe floating helps you become more mindful. Mindfulness of thoughts means watching them come and go, with friendly curiosity and non-judgmental acceptance. When you’re mindful of your thoughts, you realise that thoughts are continually appearing and disappearing and that you can choose whether to follow them or comply with them.
This float helped me realise that thoughts can achieve better flow. I learned how to manage my thoughts more and to choose whether to follow thoughts or to brush them off.
3 – It has been known to help treat a number of health issues
Thankfully, I didn’t do the float to limit the symptoms of any health conditions. But, if you do suffer from certain conditions, research has evidenced that a flotation can be a big help in relieving symptoms.
Floatation helps manage stress, anxiety, fibromyalgia and the effects of trauma. Indeed, a recent wave of research indicates the huge potential on the use of floatation to relieve the symptoms of PTSD / PTSI (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder / Injury) by reducing the activity of the Fight or Flight response.
Floatation may also be beneficial for those living with autism, creating a placid environment that aids well-being and anyone looking to rest and relax away from the constant environmental stimulation of modern life.
There’s a number of other conditions floating may help out with, and the only way to find out if it works for you is to try it!
4 – It was founded by a mental health specialist with years of experience
Founded by Vivian McKinnon in 2015, Hydro-Ease is Northern Ireland’s only floatation centre. Vivian also specialises in revolutionary treatments such as Havening and SPECTRUM emotional coaching.
Vivian has over 12 years experience as a change-work specialist, and is the NI Regional Coordinator for SMART recovery as well as a facilitator and champion and trainer in Mental Health First Aid.
Vivian is qualified and experienced in the following treatments: Havening, NLP, Timeline Therapy, Hypnosis, Auricular Acupuncture, Laughter Yoga, Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, SPECTRUM Performance and emotional coaching and Clinical Hypnotherapy.
Vivian had her first experience with floatation which she described as a ‘life-changing’. From that moment, she was determined to educate more people on the benefits of floatation therapy and to own her own centre supporting people to recover from modern life and the experiences within it.
5 – It is probably the most unique experience you’ll ever have
Floating in salt water was a first for me. So was floating without light or sound. It was probably the most limited my senses had been in my whole life.
Even while asleep in the dark, you will be weighed down by gravity, and there will be pressure on the parts of your body connecting with the environment.
This therapy leaves you in a dream-like state, similar to that experienced just before you go to sleep. In this state, your brain releases vast amounts of endorphin’s, a ‘feel good’ chemical and the bodies natural pain killer.
While the state of relaxation may be deep and profound, your brain will stay dreamily alert.
This float was utterly different from anything I’d ever experienced. It was a proper ‘out of space’ experience. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone, and I’ll definitely do it again!
Information about Hydro-Ease
Ireland’s original floatation centre is located in Dundonald and has been in business since September 2015. It was founded by Vivian McKinnon, a mental health expert with a passion for improving the lives of others. Floatation helps manage stress, anxiety and the effects of trauma.
Address: Unit C3 Inspire Business Park 16 Carrowreagh Rd., Dundonald Belfast BT16 1QT
Phone:02895 215155 Mob 07483 918411