Lightproof and soundproof, the tanks have a layer of shallow body-temperature water; a session inside (688RMB for 60 minutes) brings on a state of deep sleep-like relaxation for most and a meditative state for some.
Inside the CBD spa, we get ready for a session by showering off inside our spa room – the team has each stocked with everything needed, from make-up remover to contact lens solution to luxe Aesop shampoos. Gentle music lets us know it’s time to step into our tank (which looks like a cross between a spaceship and a coffin and contains 1,000 pounds of salt imported from the Dead Sea).
We put on our earplugs and repeat to ourself the benefits, namely that a one-hour float equals four hours of deep sleep and miraculous skin softening properties.
The same gentle music wakes us and we emerge an hour later feeling clear-headed and fresh and ready to tackle the rest of our to-do list for the afternoon. What happened? We're not entirely sure, but we do know it felt good.
The model of tanks used by AWA do let a tiny sliver of light into the tank, so for the full experience opt to turn off the lights inside the spa room before beginning.
AWA also has a salt therapy room, where spa-goers can reacclimatise after sensory deprivation (388RMB for a 60-minute session). Inside the four-seat room, sand imported from Israel lines the walls and floor, while a fan pumps even more into the air. The mineral is a powerful detoxifier and may help to clean the lungs of those with respiratory conditions or living in polluted environments, the AWA team says. We could probably all do with a bit of that.