With its combination of traffic, heat, dust and noise, Bangkok can be a very draining city, even for the most hearty tourist.
So perhaps it's perfect that a recently added city attraction is one that is also rejuvenating, refreshing and full of benefits. At Theta State Float Center, there are state-of-the-art float pods for one to unwind in.
This new venue has to be Bangkok's most relaxing spot!
Float away at Theta State Float — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
While floatation tanks have been around for a while, known during the 1980s as "sensory deprivation tanks," these days they are more akin to sensory relief tanks, a rare place to get away from cellphones, computers, Facebook and the harmful stress hormones of urban living.
Floatation tanks have been proven to have great physical and mental benefits, from reducing jet lag to relieving chronic pain (The water in the tank has a heavy concentration of medical-grade epsom salt, which strengthens enzymes and balances electrolytes.) to completely freeing everyone from high-end athletes to pregnant moms on down of physical stress.
Inside the pod at Theta State Float Center — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
Each floatation pod (Theta Float Center has several pod tanks and several more conventional room tanks for those who might feel a bit claustrophobic.) has around 10 inches of body temperature saline water, so there isn't any risk of drowning, freezing or boiling.
In fact, a trip to Theta is more akin to a day at the Dead Sea, except that there are no external stimuli to impede one's chill-out time.
One gets into one's birthday suit, slips into the pod and closes the hatch. Then, soothing music soon fades, as do the lights, and the meditative experience begins. The only connection one may have to the surroundings is the occasional slight touching against the sides of the tank, and this too soon fades, as one tends to enter a pretty deep meditative state.
Post-float lounge at Theta State Float — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
The experience can be likened to a meditation session, yet without the external distractions, along with a comfortable temperature and complete weightlessness (about as close to space as one can get without becoming an astronaut). And there seems to be far less of the "monkey mind" that most beginning meditators experience, where one feels restless and unable to relax.
For most floaters, this tends to fade pretty quick, and the real benefits of the float kick in.
Enter the magical world at Theta State Float Center — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
The future of floating is pretty boundless. Theta Float owner Annile Alexander says he wouldn't be surprised if in the future, every hospital, fitness center, yoga studio and holistic treatment facility had its own tank.
For right now, though, this is something pretty new to Bangkok and Southeast Asia. And while locals are still a bit unsure as to exactly what it is (Is it a spa treatment?), tourists are starting to line up, especially in a city where a day of sightseeing can grind you down.
It's even a great alternative to the traditional way of tourist recovery here: the trip to the local massage parlor.