FREQUENTLY ASKED FLOAT QUESTIONS
Floating is new for many folks, and it's different from float center to float center, so we compile all of our most frequently asked questions here. Questions are organized by category, so poke around and learn a little more about what we do.
What is floating?
The short answer: awesome. The more informative answer: You step into a oversized tub with 10 inches of skin-temperature water and over 1000 pounds of epsom salt. You lie back and float, completely effortlessly, on the silky solution. You can choose to have the lights on or off and you can listen to music of enjoy silence.
What should I wear?
Nothing. Seriously. For the best experience, we recommend your birthday suit! (It makes packing easier too!) There are several reasons for this:
Salt will absolutely gather in the fabric, and as the surface of your skin that floats above the water dries, it will begin to feel crusty, and could be irritating.
Swimsuits are usually worn in chlorine pools and washed with detergents, which means you could introduce chemicals into the pristine float solution, causing contamination.
New suits are often soaked with heavy dyes which could bleed, causing discoloration of the float solution or staining of the fiberglass tub. If this happens, you could be charged for the replacement costs for the float solution, resurfacing of the float room, and cancelled appointments, up to $1500.
I'm really tall. Will I fit in the float room?
Probably. Our float rooms are quite spacious at 54 inches wide and 96 inches long. (That's 4.5 feet by 8 feet if you don't like math.) Most folks have plenty of space to stretch out.
Can I use essential oils, bath bombs, or other bath products during my float?
Oh, please don't. We absolutely LOVE those products (and even sell some in our shop for you to use at home), but introducing chemicals, fragrances, and other materials into the float solution can cause problems with our filtration system. And not everyone agrees on the perfect scent, so whatever odors you bring into the room will likely linger for the next guest, who may have allergies or sensitivities.
How deep is the water? What if I can't swim?
You'll step into a tub with about 10 inches or so of float solution (water + 1000 pounds of epsom salt). You don't have to know how to swim, and you don't even have to know how to float! The solution does all the work for you. We've never met anyone who can't float in this environment... it's denser than the Dead Sea!
Will my ears go under?
It's highly likely that your ears will certainly go under the water line. We do provide a "halo" that's used behind your head to help you relax the neck muscles and allow the head to float naturally. We also provide earplugs to minimize any salt water going into your ears, but we do ask everyone to rinse their ears in the post-float shower. We provide a solution of 50% vinegar (to dissolve the salt) and 50% alcohol (to dry up the water).
Is the water changed after each guest?
We could... but it'd probably drive the costs up to about $1500 per float, and we'd only offer one per day. Instead, we keep the costs down by moving the solution through a 5-micron filter 4-6 times between each guest. It also passes through a UV sanitization AND an ozone treatment on each cycle.
How long do you stay in there?
Our floats are up to 75 minutes, with the option to upgrade to 90 minutes. With that said, you can get out ANYTIME. Some folks feel wonderful after just 30 minutes or so, and some want to stay in to soak up every last second. It's completely up to you.
Can I float with a friend/spouse/family member?
Our float rooms acommodate one person at a time. You can schedule your appointment for the same time though, as we have three nearly identical float suites available.
Can I float before/after a massage?
ABSOLUTELY! We love how you think! Some people prefer to float before, while some prefer to float after a massage, so we really think it's a personal preference. The only thing we ask is that if you float AFTER a massage, please take extra time in the shower to ensure all oils are washed away before stepping into the float room.
Is there a weight restriction to float?
Generally speaking, nope. As long as you can safely step in and out of the float room without assistance, we'd be honored to host your float. Different body shapes hold weight in different areas, so if your weight is around the belly and bum, it might be best to reach out to us first, so we can ensure the float solution is at optimum levels so you experience weightlessness.
What should I bring with me?
Do I have to get my hair wet?
Probably. You're welcome to try a swim cap, but it works a bit differently than it does when swimming. Most of the time, in a pool, you're in motion, so water just glides right on by. In a float room, you're still, so there's a good chance salt water will seep in around the seal, which may cause discomfort.
Can children float?
This decision is handled on a case-by-case basis. We ask that a parent has floated with us before, so he or she knows the process and what to expect in order to make an educated judgment call. Generally speaking, kids under 10 aren't ready for showering, being in a quiet space, and avoiding salty splashes on their own. After a discussion with a parent, we're happy to make that decision together. If it is agreed that a child under the age of 15 can float with us, we ask that a parent stay in the room to assist as necessary.
It's important to be aware that some children (as well as women) experience some stinging in the genital areas. This is a fairly common reaction, especially in pre-pubescent girls, as well as girls and boys going through puberty due to a reaction of the hormones in the body. We provide a non-petroleum ointment that can be applied to the external organs to help prevent the burning.
Will my fingers get super wrinkly?
No prunes here, folks. It's a pretty cool magic trick. The high level of epsom salt actually prevents your skin from wrinkling!
What if I get salt water in my eyes?
It will burn. Possibly a lot. But we know it happens sometimes, no matter how careful you are, so we leave a little spray bottle of fresh water and a clean towel inside the float room so you can spritz the burn away and get back to your peaceful place quickly.
How long has floating been "a thing"?
The first float experience was created in 1954 by John C. Lily. He and several colleagues began studying the effects of sensory deprivation, and one of his participants was Glenn Perry, who then invented the first commerical float tank in 1972.
My hair is dyed or chemically treated. Can I float?
It's heartbreaking to tell anyone they can't float, but we might have to ask you to wait a bit. Hair dye often runs in the float solution, causing discoloration and staining of the fiberglass. Just as bad, it might ruin your freshly dyed hair job! We recommend that you've washed your hair at least 8-10 times and ensured that absolutely no color runs in the shower or when dried with a white towel.
Can I float for longer than the regular appointment time allows?
Absolutely! You can upgrade to a 90-minute session for only $10 more (free for float members!), or you can book back-to-back appointments to float for 3 hours. If you'd like more than that, reach out and we'll do our best to help you!
Is the water hot?
Warm? Yes. Hot? No. Unlike a hot tub, you're not going to get sweaty. We keep both the float solution and air temperature around 93.5-94.5 degrees, which is the same temperature as the average external skin temp. In many cases, guests have told us they can't tell where their skin ends and the water or air begin. Pretty neato.
Sometimes my body twitches when I'm floating. Why?
Say hello to our little friend, the hynogogic jerk. He's not really a jerk. He's just an involuntary muscle spasm that happens when you're drifting off to Sleepytown. It's actually a good indicator that you're relaxed and releasing tension during that transition from wakefulness to sleep.
Avoid caffeine or other stimulants before your float.
- Do a few breathing exercises at the beginning of your float. Inhale for a count of 10, hold for 5 breaths, and slowly exhale for 10. If that feels like too long, start with shorter times and work your way up over time. (Don't do hold your breath if you're pregnant. Instead, just focus on the inhale and exhale.)
- Stretch before you float. Just do a few toe touches or twists before your shower, or try a few seated twists as soon as you enter the float room.
Do I have to be in the dark and silence?
Nope. Something magical happens when your brain is given the opportunity to truly rest without any external stimuli, but we know that might not be comfortable for everyone. Your float room has an LED light inside, and you choose what color it is, and whether or not to turn it off.
Why do I have to shower TWICE?
The first shower is to ensure all dirt, chemicals, dust, body products, and debris are removed before you step into the float room. We ask that you use body wash and shampoo (provided) for the first shower, but no conditioner. We all like squeaky clean water, right?
How often should I float?
This really depends on your own needs. If you have chronic pain, floating once or more per week is most effective for finding relief. If you are severely stressed, you may find a few floats per month to be helpful. If you're floating just for a little "me time", perhaps monthly is ideal for you.
Health Concerns and Accessibility
Is it safe for pregnant women to float?
We always recommend checking with your primary care physician, but in most cases, it's not only fine, but it's a little bit of heaven for expecting mommas! Pregnancy brings many aches and pains with all the changes to a woman's body, but floating provides a unique opportunity to relieve some of that pressure. We even keep a big, soft pool noodle so you can drape yourself over it and float with your belly down! (Every pregnant woman knows what a treat that is!)
Is your facility handicap-accessible?
Unfortunately, it is not. We are located in the walkout basement level of a historic building. You must be able to walk down several stairs to enter our space, and you must be able to step in and out of the float room (a slippery, wet environment) without our assitance.
With that said, we do provide a transfer bench, and we have installed grab bars in as many places as we can, and we have extra large, open showers. You're also welcome to bring someone who can assist you, but in doing so, you assume all risk and liabilities.
Who should NOT float?
As much as it pains us to say, there are a few situations in which we wouldn't recommend floating.
In some cases, magnesium sulfate (the epsom salts in our float rooms) may have an affect on blood glucose. We strongly recommend consulting with your doctor before floating if you have diabetes. Also note that if you have any open wounds, the salt water will cause stinging.
Low blood pressure
Because floating causes blood pressure to decrease, it can be dangerous for those with already-low blood pressure to float, especially when standing to exit at the end of a float. Take extra precaution, but speak with your physician before scheduling an appointment.
If you are prone to seizures, we recommend avoiding floating due to the enclosed, salty, wet environment.
It is still debated as to whether magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) is absorbed through the skin, however, many believe that it is. The kidneys then process what is absorbed, and it is known that the kidneys are responsible for processing magnesium. Consult with your physician before floating.
Can I float while menstruating?
Yes, as long as you take the same precautions you would when swimming. You are required to use a tampon or menstrual cup, and we do ask that you avoid scheduling your appointment during heavy flow days to prevent leaks.
What if I'm claustrophobic?
The most important thing to know is that you are in complete control of your environment. Our float rooms are spacious at 54 inches by 96 inches, and they're about 7 feet high at the entry, so you can stand up. The ceiling slopes down in a wave pattern toward the back of the room, and the door is glass, so you can easily see out into the shower. You're welcome to open the shower door during your session, or even get out and stretch anytime.
I hear crunchy sounds or water in my ears after my float. What can I do to relieve that?
Even when using the provided earplugs, it's possible that salt water trickled into the ear canal. We provide a solution of 50% vinegar (to dissolve the salt) and 50% alcohol (to dry up the later) in the shower for each guest, and you're welcome to swing by the center to use ours or you can easily mix it up at home. Just squirt it into the ear, then tilt your head to the side to let the solution run out.
Will my skin feel dry after a float?
Generally speaking, not at all! Most people even send us love letters the next day because their skin is oh, so soft.
Prices and Payments
Can I use an FSA or HSA account?
We are happy to try any card you present, but presently, we are not categorized as a health care provider, so it's unlikely that you'll be eligible to use those funds.
Do you offer an unlimited float package?
We do not. We do, however, have a great deal available with our Sukhino Salt Lovers membership. If you have a medical need or another strong desire to float more frequently, talk to Graham or Kim (the owners), and we'd love to see what we can do to help for your situation.
Is there a contract to become a member?
Our Sukhino Salt Lovers Memberships are meant to provide you with an affordable option to ensure you're getting the self-care you need and deserve. In order to ensure we're able to provide that for you, we ask for a three-month commitment and a two-week notice to cancel. We do ask you to review and sign a short contract, but we hope you'll find the added benefits to be worth the investment.
Does insurance cover float therapy?
We are unable to directly bill your insurance company, but we have heard from some guests who have been successful in getting reimbursed for floating if it is recommended by a physician. We're happy to provide you with a receipt for your attendance that you can use to request reimbursement.