THE BUZZ: Achieve ultimate relaxation right in the heart of Happy Valley in Zero Gravity’s space-age floatation tanks. Suitable for most people, including athletes, pregnant women and the elderly, floating is said to relieve stress, improve circulation, help with post-workout muscle recovery and even reduce blood pressure. With just an hour in the tank reportedly broadly equivalent to around four hours’ sleep, could pod life be the solution to harried Hongkongers’ stress-fest lifestyles?
THE PROCEDURE: Entering the private tank room, you shower before donning foam earplugs and entering the floatation tank. You can go swimsuit or birthday suit, depending on how you’re most comfortable. Each tank contains 800 litres of UV-filtered, body-temperature water, primed with 500 kilos of Epsom salts to give you extra buoyancy, making floating completely effortless. First-timers or claustrophobes can choose to keep the tank open and twinkly coloured lights switched on, or else switch off and close the lid for the total immersion experience. You’re encouraged to empty your mind of all thoughts, concentrating only on your breathing until your session is finished and you’re brought gently back to reality with music.
BEST BIT: Even with the earplugs in, the complete silence was unexpected and very welcome. Ditto the sense of weightlessness, which was quite unlike anything we’d ever experienced before (having neither visited the Dead Sea nor outer space). After five or so minutes of bobbing about in the dark, we began to zone out – much the same as when having a really good massage – and fell into a semi-doze. When the hour was up, we hopped back into the shower feeling pretty serene. Another benefit of magnesium-rich Epsom salts is their skin-improving properties, so there were no wrinkly prune fingers, even after an hour of soaking.
WORST BIT: Foolishly scratching an itch in the corner of our eye, just as we were drifting off. Water that salty stings like you wouldn’t believe, so do use the provided spray bottle of fresh water and washcloth if you feel the need to wipe your face mid-float. Avoid shaving for at least eight hours beforehand for the same reason.
WHAT ELSE? The spa also carries a small range of complementary health and wellness products and has collected some very interesting research about the benefits of both floating and magnesium on health and wellbeing. Packages are available and can be split between friends.
THE COST: $1,200 for 90 minutes or $990 for 60 minutes.
29 Sing Woo Rd., Happy Valley, 2180 9192, zerog.hk.
Tried and Tested
Tiny plastic microbeads are a common ingredient in face and body scrubs – but they’re also wreaking havoc on the environment. The beads are so small they cannot be filtered by water treatment facilities and so find their way into the ocean, where they’re ingested by marine life and contribute to plastic pollution that can never be cleaned up. Local NGO Plastic Free Seas is running a supporthk.org pettion until the end of March to put pressure on the SAR government into following the US and banning microbeads in skincare products. Make sure to scrutinise your scrub for ingredients like polyethylene. Meanwhile, here are two great plastic-free alternatives to try.
With Aveda’s commitment to environmental protection and use of natural extracts, you can safely bet that this product is as earth-friendly as they come. This creamy daily cleanser contains jojoba beads (made from a natural wax), which gently exfoliate without scratching the surface of the skin.
Micro Magic Microdermabrasion Treatment by Bliss
For a serious exfoliating experience, this intensive once- or twice-weekly treatment by Bliss contains volcanic pumice to effectively remove dead skin cells and grime, encourage cell renewal and improve skin texture. It’s also infused with aloe and vitamin E to moisturise and protect the skin. We love it!
$520. www.blissworld.com. Both products are available at Lab Concept, 93 Queensway, Admiralty, 2113-0136 (Aveda) and 2118-3966 (Bliss)