WHAT IS FLOATING?
Floating is a way to pause the hectic, over-stimulation of daily life and enter a state of pure mental and physical relaxation. By removing the endless stream of sensory input, your mind has a chance to recharge, rest, and recover with renewed perspective and energy. So how do we do all this? With the float tank, also known as a pod, sensory deprivation tank, or isolation tank.
They vary in size, but the typical tank is 8' long and 5-6' wide. They are enclosed, but the door never locks or latches. It holds about 10" of water, which is saturated with 1000-1,200 pounds of Epsom salt. This creates a solution more buoyant than the Dead Sea, and you float on your back about half in and half out of the water. The water is kept at a constant temperature of around 93.5 degrees which soon becomes almost imperceptible because it is the exact temperature of your skin! The line between the air and the water becomes blurred which can feel as if you are floating in space. As you enter the tank there will be light music and soft lights. The tank is sound proof and once the lights and music fade out, there is no visual or auditory stimulation.
No gravity, no touch, no sound, and no distractions.
The buoyancy puts your body into what is essentially a zero-gravity environment: your muscles and bones get to relax, your joints and spine decompress, and the strain on your circulatory system is greatly reduced. It basically allows your entire body to breath a sigh of relief.
With no external stimuli coming in, your system stops worrying about all the background tasks that usually keep it occupied. Your fight-or-flight response gets a chance to kick back and stop bossing your brain around, lowering your production of adrenaline and cortisol. Instead, studies show signs that your dopamine and endorphin levels rise, giving you a natural mood high which often lasts for days, the 'post-float glow'.
Floatation therapy affects us in another notable way; as our brains become stimuli starved, their reaction is to start creating their own stimuli. Swirling nebulas, distant forgotten memories, and untapped creativity are a sampling of experiences that people have reported from their time in the tank.
IS THERE SCIENCE TO BACK UP FLOAT THERAPY?
Floating has been around for over 60 years. There is a substantial amount of published research to back it up along with continued research at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research here in the U.S. and studies being done abroad. Check out https://www.clinicalfloatation.com/ to learn more about ongoing floatation therapy research.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FLOATING?
Float therapy has a wide array of both physical and mental benefits. Some of the most significant are noticeable relaxation, relief from pain/inflammation, and improved sleep as a result of the previous two.
Additional physical benefits include: Deep relaxation and theta wave production, increased blood circulation, improved muscle recovery, reduction in chronic pain, increased immune function.
Additional mental benefits include: Stress reduction, increased creativity, increased sensory acuity/reaction time, improved sleep schedule maintenance, feelings of euphoria. Some find the deep meditative state very spiritual as well.
DO I NEED TO BRING ANYTHING?
We provide robes, flip-flops, towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, ear-plugs, lotion, Q-tips, and blow dryers. If you have long hair, you may want to bring a hair tie or if you use a special brush/comb. We have contact lens cases if you choose to take out your contacts while you’re in the tank.
Each room is fully private, and you go into the tanks nude, so there’s no need to bring a bathing suit.
DO I HAVE TO FLOAT NUDE?
Most people do not wear bathing suits when floating, and this is what we recommend as well. Anything you wear while floating will become heavy with the Epsom salt and may be distracting during your float.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE?
We recommend that you do not drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages for several hours beforehand. Also, don’t shave or wax since the salt water may irritate sensitive skin with razor burn. Eating a light meal about an hour to 90 minutes ahead of time stops your stomach from distracting you while you float. Otherwise, no specific preparation is needed!
WHAT IF I AM CLAUSTROPHOBIC?
People with claustrophobia consistently report no problems with floating. You are always in control of your environment, and can choose to float with the pod or suite open, the lights can be kept on (at your request), and you are able to freely enter and exit the tank. Neither the I-sopod nor the Zero Gravity suite latch or lock shut. If you have additional concerns, feel free to discuss with a FLOAT crew member.
The cabin is generally the tank we recommend for folks with severe claustrophobia. The ceiling in this tank is 7 feet tall, so you have a ton of room in there!
DO I HAVE TO STAY IN THE WHOLE TIME?
Neither the I-sopod nor the Zero Gravity suite latch or lock shut and you are able to freely enter and exit the tanks. That said, the float usually goes by much faster than you’d expect (the average customer usually says it felt like 30 minutes long).
WHAT IF I DON’T FLOAT?
A common question, as some struggle to float in other bodies of water—we assure you, based on the 1,200 lbs of Epsom salt in the water, you will absolutely float effortlessly in our tanks which are more dense than the Dead Sea.
IS THE EPSOM SALT GOOD FOR MY SKIN?
Epsom salt has actually been used for treating skin ailments and will leave your skin feeling smooth and silky. Your skin will not even prune!
HOW IS THE WATER IN THE TANK KEPT CLEAN?
FLOAT observes rigorous health and safety regulations in order to provide customers with a safe experience. The 1,200 lbs of Epsom salt in the water creates a solution which is inherently sterile and does not allow for the proliferation of bacteria. Between each float, the entire volume of the tank is filtered 3-4 times through a 1-10 micron filter, and treated with UV light and Hydrogen Peroxide to purify and disinfect the water. Additionally, when the tanks are not in use, purification system routinely runs to cleanse the water.
CAN I DROWN IF I FALL ASLEEP?
No. The 10 inches of water is so buoyant you can’t help but float at the top. Some people do choose to sleep in the pods.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET SALT IN MY EYES?
While it has happened to all of us, it is best to avoid touching your face with your hands during your session.
We provide a squirt bottle full of fresh water in each tank. There are also face towels to bring into your float if for any reason you may need to touch your face mid-float.
ARE THERE ANY WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS FOR FLOATING?
There are no weight restrictions, and we do our best to make everyone comfortable at our facility.
IS IT SAFE TO FLOAT IF I AM PREGNANT?
Not only is it safe but it is absolutely encouraged since pregnant clients may experience some of the greatest relief from floating! While pregnant, the added weight and pressure on the mother’s body is likely to cause pain and discomfort, the weightless impact of floating can provide much needed relief and allows you to escape the added stress. It has also been touted as an awesome way to bond with your baby.
There is even a special position you can float in that relieves all of the weight of the baby off of the mother’s body. If you are in your third trimester, or have any concerns, please consult with your physician before coming in.
CAN I FLOAT WHILE ON MY PERIOD?
Yes. Just follow the same protocol you would for a public swimming pool or hot tub. Yes.
For other concerns regarding your lady parts, our friends at Anicca Float Club cover it all here: http://www.floatnaperville.com/float-club-blog/2015/12/18/whats-up-down-there-floating-vaginas
CAN I FLOAT IF I JUST DYED MY HAIR?
The color from your hair could stain the tank, therefore, we recommend that you check if the water running through your hair in the shower at home is fully clear. If there is still some color coming out you should wait a couple of more days/showers before coming in to float.
CAN I BRING A FRIEND TO FLOAT?
Only one person per tank. We have four float tanks (three pods and one cabin), one massage room, and one infrared sauna, so you can throw your own float party and invite up to 5 other people to enjoy services at FLOAT. Some float centers to offer couple floats in the same tank, but we think having another person in the tank detracts from the ‘sensory deprivation’ experience.
HOW LONG HAS FLOATING BEEN AROUND?
The first float tank was developed in 1954 by John C. Lily and involved full submersion in water as well as a breathing device that was worn over the face. The first commercial tanks were invented in the early 70’s.
IS THIS LIKE ALTERED STATES?
Yes, but you’re not submerged in water, you don’t eat ritualistic mushrooms, and only a small percentage of floaters turn into proto-human monkeys.