Canberrans can now press 'mute' on life at Astral Float Studio

Canberrans can now press 'mute' on life at Astral Float Studio

Some describe it as "like floating through space". Others describe it as "a blissful swim in the ocean".

Floating has officially arrived in Canberra thanks to siblings Sarah and Chris Tisdell, and so far hundreds of Canberrans have climbed into the tanks at Astral Float Studio to press mute on life for an hour.

Lil Tisdell tries out one of the float tanks at Astral Float Studio.

Lil Tisdell tries out one of the float tanks at Astral Float Studio.Credit:Karleen Minney

Floating involves exactly that: hopping into a huge tank (2.3 metres long by 1.4m wide) and laying down in 1000L of water infused with 350kg of Epsom salt. No matter what you weigh, you'll float.

When the lid of the tank closes, it's the ultimate in sensory deprivation. You can't see, hear, smell, touch or taste anything. It's just you and your mind, alone for an hour.


It might sound a little hippy and new age for some, but according to Sarah, Canberrans are loving it.

"So far we've floated a Muay Thai world champion, a crossfit champion, national archers, national powerlifters and weightlifters, a ninja warrior, a poker player, international and local footy representatives, and plenty of everyday heroes like mums, dads and grandparents," Sarah said.

"We've seen people with bad back problems float on consecutive days to relieve pain and inflammation. We've floated folks with insomnia, anxiety, PTSD and most have expressed how valuable their float was for them."

Having floated in a studio in Wollongong for many years, Sarah said she wanted to bring the experience to Canberrans.

"There was some hesitation initially - like would Canberrans get into a tank or into the floating experience? Would they think it was just some hippy fad?" she said.

"We know there is a range of busy professionals, families, creatives, academics and uni students who might not yet know about floating but we truly believe it should be part of everyone's wellness plan … be it for mental or physical wellbeing. Plus there is a large sporting and military community across Canberra who greatly benefit from floating."

So what's it like to be left alone with your mind for an hour?

"It can take time to turn the mind off - we live in busy worlds where we're super connected and in need of a good digital detox," Sarah said.

"We encourage people to focus on their breathing - this helps slow down the nervous system and reach a deeper state of relaxation sooner.

"There are some people who sleep as soon as they get in the tank, for others the constant chatter of the mind needs more focus to slowly quieten."

The success of the Bruce studio in just a few short weeks means Sarah and Chris are already scouting locations for a new float studio in Canberra's south. The vision is to include float baths at the new studio, to allow people with mobility issues to try floating.

Bree Element is the life and entertainment editor at The Canberra Times

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