Where do you come from?
I come from the UK although I’ve been living in Asia for about 4 years.
What did you do prior to opening the Thaisolate Spa in Samui?
Before I moved to Koh Samui, I was managing a training department for Burmese teachers looking to work in international schools across Myanmar. It is quite different from what I do now I suppose, although, both working in Burma and at Thaisolate have allowed me to watch people go on a path of self-development and that has been extremely rewarding.
Whilst I was at university, I started researching posthumanism which lead me to become very interested in the mind-body relationship. The challenge I had is that from as far back as Descartes all the way to the 1970’s, all theories and philosophies about the mind body relationship were just that: theories. However, in the 1970’s scientists began extensive testing on the effects of sensory deprivation on the human mind. By isolating the body and the senses from the mind, there was a method of collecting more empirical data regarding the true nature of their relationship as well as the degree of influence they have on each other. This is how sensory deprivation tanks (or isolation tanks) came into development. But as soon as I started using them, my interest shifted from something academic, to the very real benefits that isolation tanks were bringing to me and other floatation enthusiasts that I met. Whilst I expected a scene awash with drugged-out hippies talking about trippy experiences, what I actually found were health-conscious, self-aware and insightful individuals using sensory deprivation for everything from meditation to muscular rehabilitation.
What was your first (second, third, fourth) experience like?
Not what I had expected! That first time is always ‘a ride’. There is so much excitement, and simply put, 99.9% of people have never been placed in any environment where sensory stimuli are so deprived. The mind grabs at the straws of reality, trying to make something from nothing. One moment you can feel quite enclosed, the next you can feel lost in infinite space. Swinging from side to side like a hammock or spinning around in circles as the brain futilely attempts to orientate itself. It is disorientating and for some that is discomforting, for others it is a lot of fun. However, the second and the third float is where the personal journey really begins and everyone’s experiences from that point on becomes quite unique. At that point, fears dissolve, along with stress, anxieties and physical tensions too. There is a marked improvement for almost all of our customers between the first, second and third float. That is why we offer a 15% discount to all customers coming for their 2nd float and a 25% discount for all customers coming for their 3rd float. The reward of hearing about the improvements and experiences of repeat customers is well-worth it for us.
As I’m sure every local business owner understands, running a business here presents certain… challenges. I’m not the most patient of people at the best of times, that impatience brings me nothing but stress and anxiety. For me personally, the floatation tanks provide an environment which is pretty much devoid of time. The difference between seconds, minutes and hours seem insignificant and I’m gradually able to project that into my life in general. I found that I have become more ‘present’, with less regards for past regret or future anxiety. Whilst I don’t harbor too many bad habits, I have found that being less stressed makes me less inclined to over indulgence as well. Floatation is proven to reduce cortisol production in the body, cortisol is sometimes called the stress hormone. I’m hypoglycemic, and high cortisol levels counteract the naturally residing insulin and worsen the situation. That’s why we sometimes reach for a chocolate bar in times of stress. So by reducing cortisol production to a healthy amount, my blood-sugar levels are a more regular too.
What are the health benefits to floating?
Many of the most significant health benefits of floating are all thanks to its efficacy at reducing stress levels and cortisol production for extended periods of time. These result in lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, a better quality of sleep (even for insomniacs) as well as being an effective non-chemical aid for fighting depression and anxiety attacks. High cortisol levels are also prevalent in people with an addictive nature, which is why floatation has been proven to help people fight addictions ranging from smoking all the way to stronger and more harmful substances. It has proven to be an effective treatment for people suffering from fibromyalgia and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). But the benefit extend beyond physical health, pro sports teams, corporations and universities are using them due to their ability to accelerate learning in users and heighten mental clarity essential for people who need to be performing at the peak of their ability.
What made you want to bring the experience of floatation to the people and visitors of Samui?
I’m going to be honest and admit that my motives are pretty selfish! I’ve been working in education for most of my professional life and that is because I love watching and helping people to grow. One thing I learned as a teacher is that you can never really teach anyone anything; rather, we can show them the door to their own personal development and growth. All we can give others is information and it is up to them to convert that into knowledge. Opening a floatation centre seemed like the perfect way for me to watch people learn and grow on their own paths of self-development. But why Samui? I’ve noticed that a lot of Samui’s residents are deeply committed to some form of self-development. From Yoga and meditation, to Muay Thai, Sea Swimming and everything in between. I couldn’t think of a place more beneficial to place these tanks in South East Asia. Friends and Family suggested Bangkok to me however I’ve never wanted it to be caught up in the spa scene, regarded as another trending spa treatment. Floatation is a practise, a discipline and not just a form of relaxation. All we do is provide the tanks, not a treatment. It is up to the user to learn how to use the tanks in a way which is most beneficial to themselves. I guess the difference is that whilst a massage or a sauna can feel wonderful, it isn’t likely to change the way you look at the world or yourself, but isolation tanks really have that potential. So whilst I’m happy to receive all kinds of visitors, I’ve made the conscious decision to offer a permanent 25% discount to all residents living and/or working here. These are the people who are going to benefit the most from floating because they may choose to continue practicing with it.
How much can a person’s experience of floating vary from one person to another?
As much as you could possibly imagine, left inside the tank, sooner or later you are forced to look into yourself. For some people that is a daily practise and isolation tanks do not offer them too many surprises. However, if you are like myself and find that those rare moments of solitude are usually spent listening to music or keeping busy then Floatation can make you remember some things that you had once forgotten. Some people can also feel a little bit sick or dizzy during the first session, but I’ve never heard of that in repeat customers.
The customer has 100% control. Because most customers prefer to float naked, we think it is better that they have total privacy but that also means that we need to put the experience in their control. Customers have control of the light and the lid for the duration of their float and can choose to get out at any time. Before their float, they can choose to have music for the duration of their float, at the beginning and end or not at all. There is also a panic button inside the tank which alerts our staff if a customer needs any assistance. We heat our tanks to skin temperature, some people find it a little warm, others find it a bit cold. However, once we know how you like the temperature we can always adjust it for your next session. Everybody uses the tanks for different reasons; some for sensory deprivation, some for relaxation, some for chronic pain relief and that is why it is so important that the customer has control over their experience.
Who can float?
Almost anyone can float. Young and old, healthy and sick. It is fine for pregnant women in their 2nd and 3rd Trimester, indeed, they usually find the weightless sensation to be a welcome relief. The silence inside the tank is such that you can hear your heart beat as well as all the other parts of your body working. I’d imagine being able to hear your unborn child inside you would be quite an incredible experience. Floatation is excellent for reducing high blood pressure and also takes a lot of strain off of the heart which is why it is fine for people with almost any condition. Regrettably, our tanks our on the 3rd floor of the building however and so we do not have access for disabled people.
Are there any medical or physical conditions that would prevent you from floating?
If you have large open wounds, I would definitely not recommend floating. Each tank now has about 700kg of Magnesium Sulphate inside which makes the water extremely salty. So any open wounds are going to sting when you put them in the water. Having said that, the salinity of the water, combined with the use of Hydrogen Peroxide makes our tanks a totally sterile environment. There are no bacteria which are able to survive inside the tanks. This means it is also impossible to catch any illness from someone else who has used the tank before. We pride ourselves on keeping our tanks and their water pristine.
How long do people float for?
First time users usually float for an hour, however first time users who regularly practise meditation start with 90 minute sessions. Once you get into floating, 60 minutes really isn’t enough. Personally, I enjoy to float for 2 hours at a time. We have one customer who tried a 3 hour session and really enjoyed it. I think the longest I’ve heard of anyone spending inside a tank is 10 hours, although it may be quite hard to come back to reality after that long inside the tank!
How can you book a float session?
You can book on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thaisolation
Our website: www.thaisolate.com
Or you can call us at: 077426967
We’re open 7 days a week from noon until 9pm
I highly recommend adding us on facebook to keep up to date with us. We have a lot of special discounts which are available all the time. We just introduced floating Thursdays; every Thursday you can bring a friend to float free of charge when you book a session for yourself. As of June we also now offer a permanent 25% discount to all Samui residents. And our best offer is on our membership cards which cost just 20,000 baht for 18 hours, they can be shared amongst any number of friends and family as well.
What do you need to bring along to Thaisolate?
You don’t need to bring anything unless you prefer to float with a swimsuit. Some people also prefer to wear ear plugs although these aren’t necessary.
Can two people float in one tank?
No, Although the tanks are big enough, they are designed as a place for isolation and personal time.
How often should you float to get any real benefits from it?
I think it depends on the individual and their personal ailments. I’ve seen plenty of customers who look noticeably happier leaving compared to when they walked in, even after the first float. The really important thing to remember is that Floatation helps deal with issues such as chronic pain, sleeping disorders and high blood pressure. These problems didn’t form overnight and an isolation tank is unlikely to cure them overnight too. But if you stick with it for at least 3 sessions, you are pretty much guaranteed to have noticed some benefits whether you were expecting to or not.
I would tell them that there is really nothing to fear apart from fear itself. I have done extensive research into modern floatation therapy and I have not heard of a single case of floatation having a negative effect on a user’s health. When people see the tanks, they often comment on how they look much bigger than they expected and I think most people who come into the shop with a few doubts are usually ok once they have seen the tanks.
What is the difference between floating in at tank and floating on the ocean?
Where should I begin? Well, let’s take floating in the sea around Samui as our point of comparison with floating in our tanks. You are infinitely more buoyant in our isolation tanks than you are in the ocean. This is really important because when you are lying on your back for a long time it becomes uncomfortable having to support the weight of your head with your neck. Inside our isolation tanks you really can’t sink, the water is too saline. The next difference is that the tanks are totally sterile, filtered regularly and contain none of the pollutants that can be found in the sea water. Another important difference is the “sensory deprivation factor”: the water is skin temperature, it is possible to have the total darkness inside the tanks and a level of quietness that is impossible to find floating at sea. Although we often refer to the tank’s content as salt-water, it isn’t the kind of salt you put on your chips; we use magnesium sulphate in concentrations which prevent the development of mold or bacteria. The magnesium is easily absorbed into the skin and leaves it feeling lovely and soft afterwards. We also keep our tanks jelly fish free!
What is the solution made from?
Reverse Osmosis filtered drinking water mixed with 700kg of Pharmaceutical grade Magnesium Sulphate and very low levels of Hydrogen peroxide. We also ensure that our water has a near neutral pH to improve the comfort of longer floatation sessions.
How the solution is kept clean?
The tanks salinity ensures that no bacteria can survive inside the tank. We also use Hydrogen peroxide, which is highly effective in sterilizing solutions. Each tank has an advanced filtration system which ensures every drop of water is filtered at least 3 times between each customer as well.
For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/thaisolation
Our website: www.thaisolate.com
Or you can call us at: 077426967Stay updated with Samui Times by following us on Facebook.
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