The promise of an “unforgettable experience”. Head to the Graviti flotation center, located in the heart of the 6th arrondissement of Lyon. The concept: immerse yourself in a soundproof “capsule” to experience sensory isolation and the effect of weightlessness.
A “mix of adventure and well-being”, summarizes Sophie Herbet, co-founder of the establishment, in the preamble. Ready for the big trip? An individual cocoon awaits us. Inside, 30 centimeters of water heated to 35 degrees, filled with Epsom salt. No need to contract the abs to try to float. “The density is four times greater than the Dead Sea,” breathes Vianney Blaiteau, the other co-founder of Graviti.
The silence and the great void for an hour
The experiment is done in Eve or Adam’s outfit. Yes, it provides more sensations, our guests guarantee. The subdued blue light, diffused inside the capsule, invites you to dive into the deep end and close the imposing lid to cut yourself off from the rest of the world. During one hour. Plunged in the dark (you have the option of leaving the light on), stretched out on your back with your arms shaped like a star, your skull resting on a headrest. Ten minutes of background music to gradually enter the experience. Ten minutes to find the right position. Then complete black. The great void. The silence.
The minutes tick away but inside, no longer any notion of time. We float effortlessly. The body, heavy, becomes lighter and lighter. Dissolves slowly. Until you no longer feel anything. “We fall into a phase of paradoxical sleep which allows us to escape rather than fall asleep soundly,” explains Vianney Blaiteau. “Some will have the impression of floating in space or of being in the mother’s womb”, emphasizes Sophie Herbet. Impossible to really describe where we are. If not to be detached from his body.
Slowly, the music returns, indicating the end of the experience. Already ! However, the desire to stay in one’s bubble is well established. The benefits are already being felt. “This has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep, as well as relieve joint, muscle or chronic pain,” explains Sophie. The center, which is due to set up in Bordeaux in March, also regularly welcomes people with osteoarthritis or multiple sclerosis.
“In Switzerland, mutual funds reimburse floatation sessions. In France, this practice is still relatively confidential even if the market has started to develop over the past three years ”, continues the young woman, specifying that avenues are being studied in order to forge a partnership with health professionals such as osteopaths and physiotherapists as well as sports clubs. “Some high-level athletes, including an Olympic champion, have already come,” concludes Vianney. We know that it helps to visualize complex movements, to prepare for or to recover from a competition. “Tennis Novak Djokovic has also become one of the ambassadors of flotation centers, never missing the opportunity to praise the benefits of practice.