What is float therapy?
Floating, also referred to as sensory reduction (or sensory deprivation) involves relaxing in a room of salt water, in a near-zero gravity environment, where stimuli like light and sound are left outside -- allowing you to redirect physical and mental energy inward.
Our float rooms are dim, and there’s minimal ambient noise (you can choose to play ambient noise/music), and the water is skin temperature -- 93- to 94-degrees -- so the water is like an extension of your body.
During your float, you’ll slip into an ultra-relaxed state that triggers the brain to create theta waves. Theta waves propel creativity, intense memories, inspiration and a sense of calm. It’s like the feeling you get right as you’re drifting into a deep sleep.
Take a look at this video from our friends at Just Float for more information!
Is floatation therapy new?
No, float therapy was invented in 1954 by a physician, John C. Lilly at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of sensory deprivation on the mind.
What can I expect during my first float?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this question since every person is different.
First-time floaters can have different expectations, which may also lead to disappointment in yourself, the inability to focus, relax or meditate (which is challenging for most people!). We like to say that you should understand the basics of how it works, but to go in with minimal expectations.
How long are your sessions?
Our sessions are typically 60-minutes long, you will also have 5-10 minutes before and after your float to shower and get dressed.
We can usually accommodate longer float sessions -- just ask!
You can also leave the float room at any time during your session. Children 12 and under can reserve 30-minute sessions. For children/pediatric floats, an adult must be present in the room (not in the water).
We also recommend that you carve out time post-float for reflection and continued relaxation. Coming out of a float session, you might feel euphoric or even a little disoriented; you’ve just had a solid hour of time to yourself, so jumping right back into daily life might be slightly jarring. Even if it’s a few minutes, we invite you to enjoy our Reflection Room, where you can have a cup of tea or water and gather or sketch out your thoughts before going about your day.
What do I wear?
Most people float in their birthday suits! You can choose to wear a bathing suit if you’re more comfortable in that.
Is it sanitary?
Yes! While each client is showering and changing, our high-powered magnetic drive filtration pump filters and cleans the entire float room and water four times. Rooms are also treated with UV light between sessions, so each guest can step into our float rooms assured that they’re sterile and clean. Plus, concentrated salt is naturally anti-microbial.
I can’t swim -- will I drown?
No; the 1000 pounds of Epsom salt makes the water so buoyant that you stay afloat.
Why is magnesium so important?
Most Americans are grossly deficient in magnesium -- a vital mineral. Floating is a great way to absorb magnesium from the Epsom salts, which relieves pain and muscle aches, decreases restlessness and promotes calm, increases energy, helps you fall asleep, is good for your heart, is beneficial to skin, helps with bone density & more.
Should I eat beforehand?
Some people like to have a light meal or snack before they float -- nothing heavy. You don’t want your digestive system on overdrive during the float.
How often do you recommend floating?
Some avid floaters can’t get by without floating daily. Others prefer to float weekly. We recommend floating at least twice weekly -- that’s our happy place! The benefits of float therapy are cumulative and seen when you float on a frequent basis.
For first-timers: Since it’s such a new and different experience, your first float may not be the best determination of whether or not float therapy is for you. We recommend floating at least three times (that’s how long they say it takes to get hooked!) in the beginning.
What are some studies that prove floating is effective?
Floating has grown in popularity over the past several years, and a group of scientists are currently invested in research on the effects of float therapy on different types of distress, including PTSD. One of those researchers is Dr. Justin Feinstein, who believes so strongly in the potential of float therapy that he built his career and lab around trying to prove that.
Research from Feinstein’s lab shows that “meditating activates parts of the brain associated with attention and decreases activation in the amygdala, the part of the brain that kicks off the fight-or-flight response to a real or perceived threat.” Feinstein himself believes that floating could be a “shortcut” to reach that meditative state and realize the benefits of being in that state. And, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) agrees that research supports meditation for lowering blood pressure, easing symptoms of anxiety and depression and more, and the agency funds research on the topic. (Source: TIME Magazine)
Here are a few other studies and takeaways:
“Significant beneficial effects [from float therapy] were also found for sleep difficulties, difficulties in emotional regulation, and depression.” (Source: Promising effects of treatment with flotation-REST (restricted environmental stimulation technique) as an intervention for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): a randomized controlled pilot trial.)
“Stress, depression, anxiety, and worst pain were significantly decreased, whereas optimism and sleep quality significantly increased for the flotation-REST group. There was also a significant correlation between mindfulness in daily life and degree of altered states of consciousness during the relaxation in the flotation tank.” (Source: Beneficial effects of treatment with sensory isolation in flotation-tank as a preventive health-care intervention – a randomized controlled pilot trial)
Can children use the float tanks?
Our child psychiatrist believes that sensory reduction offered in the float pool can greatly benefit many kids growing up in our sensory-overloaded world today. The constant input of sensory stimuli can worsen conditions like ADHD, anxiety, autism and sensory processing issues.
Children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in the float room. Pediatric float lengths can be variable and benefits can likely be seen with even a few minutes.
We recommend children work their way up to 30 minutes or more. The LED starlight ceiling can be kept on, soft music or guided meditation can help children remain engaged, yet relaxed, and the door to the float pool can remain open if needed. Goggles can be used to prevent salty eyes. No swimming experience is needed! Feel free to consult with our child psychiatrist for specific questions and protocols for this age group.
Can I float if I recently dyed my hair?
We’d advise waiting until the dye has had time to set in fully. If it hasn’t, there’s a chance the float water could bleach it. If it doesn’t come off when you towel-dry your hair, you should be okay to float.
What if I’m claustrophobic?
Individuals with even extreme claustrophobia have reported to have no issues with floating since many say it feels like floating in a vast space versus being enclosed in a small one.
Unlike traditional float pods, we offer float pools which are more spacious and have a 7-foot ceiling. At any time you’re uncomfortable, you can choose to end your session. You’re always in complete control of your float experience.
Do I need to remove my contacts beforehand?
We recommend removing contact lenses for your float since the salt in the water can irritate and dry them.
Who benefits from floating?
Nearly everyone! Specifically:
Those who work high-stress jobs or are going through stressful times
Those with high blood pressure
Pregnant women (you’re weightless in the tank, read more below!)
Individuals with anxiety
Those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Those with joint, bone, spine, muscle pain
Those with fibromyalgia
Those with sleep troubles or insomnia
Athletes for improved recovery time and visualization techniques
It’s also highly effective for those wanting to improve visualization techniques (think of it as a mental rehearsal to achieve goals and desires), as well as those seeking deeper meditative states.
I’m pregnant - can I float?
Float therapy is a great way for pregnant women in their second and third trimesters (after medical clearance from their physicians) to relax and alleviate the strains and pains put on their bodies while growing life -- in fact, there may be no better people to experience immediate relief from floating than pregnant women!
The near-zero gravity experience takes pressure off of your back, legs and joints, and the magnesium in the Epsom salts helps with inflammation, promotes better sleep and reduces stress.
Plus, it’s recommended that women who are pregnant and breastfeeding have 20% more magnesium per day than the average person. Floating is a great way for the skin to efficiently absorb this vital mineral.
Anecdotally, many pregnant women experience what’s called a bonding “mirror effect” when floating: the experience of the mother floating in a sensory-reduced environment mimics the experience her baby has in her womb. Some soon-to-be moms also report feeling their baby move more during a float, perhaps because they aren’t expending as much physical or mental energy on other senses during the float.
Pregnant women should consult with their physicians before floating.
Are there restrictions on those who can float?
Floating is not recommended for epileptics whose epilepsy is not under medical control, for anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for those with infectious diseases or open skin wounds, or those with difficulties with bladder and/or bowel control (incontinence).
Can I float if I’m menstruating?
Yes, please follow the same protocol as if you were swimming.
Do I need to bring anything?
We provide towels, earplugs, shampoo, body wash, conditioner (for post-float only) and a private shower area in each float room. After your float, you can freshen up in the hair and makeup room equipped with hair dryers, straighteners, and some basic toiletries. You may wish to bring a brush or comb, a contact lens holder and any other desired personal items.
Can more than one person float in the pool at a time?
While our rooms are spacious, they will not accommodate two adults comfortably. Having more than one person in the pool may also be a distraction that interferes with relaxing.