Deciding to embrace expat life in Florence means constantly saying ‘yes’— to new places, new people, and new experiences of all stripes. But enjoying the active social life, cultural opportunities and constant interaction that can come with living in an international city often means we forget the power and occasional necessity of no. Living in Tuscany poses a strange irony: we’re in one of the world’s most tranquil destinations, yet the constant need to do-go-eat-drink can leave us lagging. All of us, no matter how adventurous we may be, need to take necessary time for ourselves—to ‘unplug,’ de-stress and simply be.
That’s where Floating Flo comes in. This unique business in Florence—the only one of its kind in Tuscany—offers a ‘floating’ service that falls somewhere on the spectrum between spa treatment and physical therapy. This simple yet futuristic form of relaxation may seem straight out of a sci-fi movie, but once you take your strained, stressed body and mind to try a session, you’ll wonder what you’ve been doing without it for so long.
So what exactly is floating, anyway? At its core, it’s a rare chance to experience a calming zero-gravity phenomenon, paired with a decrease of external stimuli. You begin by climbing into a spacious pod filled with a shallow 10-inch pool of water, peppered with Epsom salts. Scientific details of the salt solution aside, here’s the bottom line: this particular magnesium sulfate combination makes your body completely buoyant, without any complications or effort. No matter your height or weight, or how much you try to control your movements, you’ll float lightly toward the top of the water, with your body poking out above the surface. Picture a luxurious, relaxing bath, but without the scents and stimulants of this sacred me-time ritual—and without the need to even stay awake, if you so wish.
But float therapy is more than just a radical way of resting, and runs way deeper than simple relaxation. The goal is to completely let yourself go—in the positive sense. Cutting out our control-freak tendencies can be an elusive mis- sion in this age of nonstop stimulation and smartphones. The type of total tension release afforded by floating isn’t something that can be achieved with a glass of wine and a good book.
Floating offers numerous benefits for your health, happiness and post-session productivity, running the gamut from improving concentration and cre- ativity to reducing depression, anxiety, burnout and even body weight. But one of the most remarkable aspects of this practice is how it heightens your receptiveness—to anything and everything. The practical implications are plenty: removing external stimuli increases your capacity to ‘hyperlearn.’ Got a speech you need to memorize? Want to kick a dirty habit or convince yourself you can tackle that triathlon? Floating is the solution you need: during your 60 to 90 minute session, you can listen to audio, watch videos of your choice or even talk with a professional therapist or hypnotist. Skeptical? The statistics speak for themselves: if you’re aiming to quit smoking, regular floating sessions will increase your chances of success by 70–80 percent, and, if paired with hypnosis, that probability jumps to 100 percent.
When it comes to really reaping the benefits of floating and feeling completely at ease during the process, as it turns out, the third time’s the charm. According to Floating Flo owner Paolo, the best way to get comfortable with the ritual is to start with two sessions the first week, take a short break and then proceed with the third the following week.
Floating isn’t just for yogis and meditative types—in fact, it’s an innovative and comfortable solution for those mile-a-minute types among us who have never quite learned to let go. Stop by Floating Flo, set your smartphone aside, sip some tea and float on.
Viale Fratelli Rosselli 51r, Florence
TF Holiday Discount
55 euro for a session instead of 65 euro
Christmas gift cards available