This Is Hands Down The Best (And Most Unusual) Way To De-Stress In Dublin
Have you visited the Harvest Moon Centre yet?
The hardest thing to do in modern life is switch off. There's no room for distancing yourself from work and friends, no acceptable excuses for it, nowhere to escape.
While weekend getaways are great for clearing your head, they're not an immediate solution to be used regularly; that's why it's important to find little stress-free havens within the city.
You've probably walked past one such place on Baggot Street many times without even noticing, it's called the Harvest Moon Centre.
Open since 1996, this curiously decorated holistic wellness centre offers a myriad of relaxing treatments: Indian head massages, reflexology, reiki, holistic pregnancy massages, and facials.
But the main draw here, the most therapeutic treatment on offer, has to be the floating session.
Floatation therapy, for the uninitiated, dates back to the 1950s, when isolation tanks where created to test the effects of sensory deprivation on the human mind.
Researchers found that the mental state achieved within these chambers proved useful in relieving stress, anxiety, pain, and insomnia of the test subjects, leading the eventual use of isolation tanks as a form of therapy.
At Harvest Moon Centre, their bulky floatation tank occupies most of their backroom's length. There's a shower in the room, and you're asked to use it before and after the session.
In front of the float tank, there are earplugs, cotton swabs, and Vaseline. If you have any cuts on your body, you're asked to use the swabs to cover them in Vaseline as the tank's water will sting them.
The water will sting a gash because of its high salt levels (which is why you also don't want to rub your eyes while in the tank), allowing you to float effortlessly like in the Dead Sea.
Once you climb into the chamber and you close the hatch behind you, there is still a light within the tank that you can switch on and off. Once you're floating comfortably, turn out the light.
For many on their first attempt, this might give a brief moment of panic, as you float in total darkness, devoid of sound, suspended on water that's at skin temperature. The sensation is wholly unfamiliar.
Yet as you become more accustomed to it, you become aware of a feeling of being untethered. As clichéd as it sounds, it genuinely feels like your thoughts and worries drift away, so distant that they cease to seem important.
The experience goes on for an hour, but in here you lose all concept of time. You only snap back to reality at your session's end, when a member of staff gives an apologetic knock on the outer door.
Of course, the idea of lying in a pitch dark container full of water for an hour mightn't exactly sound like bliss to the more claustrophobic among you, so the wellness centre has a second option: an entire room that you can float in.
The brilliance of the floating session is the convenience with which you can achieve such a complete and utter disconnect. At an hour of your choosing, you can just cut all of life's stresses loose.
Having said all that, it's not a cheap habit: it's €60 per session. However, there are deals for multiple sessions, such as €120 for three floats.
Ultimately this won't be for everyone, but for me there's no better way to let go of your worries in the heart of the city. At the very least, it's a unique experience that's well worth ticking off the bucket list.
You can find the Harvest Moon Centre at 24 Baggot Street Lower.
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