Float Tank Basics
This simple answer? About 1,000 pounds of medical grade Epsom salt. This solution of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is used to create a weightless suspension of your body, but also leaves your skin feeling smooth and rejuvenated. For thousands of years, millions have flocked to the Dead Sea for the relief from pain and muscle aches the salty water provides. Floating provides a modern-day way to experience the same relief.
Pretty much anyone can enjoy a float. The use of float tanks is not limited to any particular demographic. The young and the old, men and women and people of all lifestyles enjoy flotation tanks. People who have a need for managing stress, increasing creativity or reducing pain find float tanks therapeutic.
The primary reasons people float are to reduce chronic anxiety, heighten cognitive function and relieve pain. Some people float to escape the bustle of life and relax for a few hours, while others use floating as a therapy for anxiety and stress . Floating is also used to increase creativity, attention and retention, as well as explore thoughts and emotions in a semi-conscious or meditative state. Others float to help manage and reduce pain as a supplement or replacement for pain medication and physical therapy.
Float tanks can be purchased by individuals for their homes. However, most people choose to pay a professional organization for time in their tanks to avoid the upfront cost, space requirements and maintenance duties. If these are not a problem, a selection of flotation tanks is available in a range of sizes and prices.
Most people do not live near a float tank manufacturer or distribution center, so the tanks are purchased online or over the phone and delivered by a freight shipping company. Certain models may need to be installed by authorized representatives who have specialized training and experience with float tanks. We use and recommend float tanks and custom float pools by Royal Spa.
Safety Concerns and Precautions
While it is possible to drown in any pool of liquid, float tanks are much safer than most other bodies of water because they contain a high concentration of salt. It is impossible to sink in a float tank, and you must exert a conscious effort to turn onto your side or attempt floating face-down. Many people safely sleep while they are floating.
Although many float tanks have closed hatches that make them soundproof and lightproof, they are not airtight. Ventilation is always more than adequate.
The interior of a float tank is exceptionally sanitary. Each tank has up to 1,500 pounds of Epsom salt dissolved in the water, which raises the salinity to levels that are inhospitable to bacteria, including microbes and other pathogens.
The Solution is sterilized between each session through a process of commercial-grade circulation, filtration and purification using a combination of UV (Ultraviolet Light) and Ozone. No harsh chemicals (Chlorine, Bromine etc) are used in the solution at our facilities.
Additionally surfaces are disinfected using Puregreen24, a level IV EPA registered “Green” disinfectant containing sliver and citrus nitrate, safe for contact with children and animals.
Yes, pregnant women may use float tanks. Floating while pregnant allows you to escape the added weight of pregnancy by taking the strain off the body and spine (and feet!). It promotes excellent sleep, a lovely sense of well being, and can help with all the aches and pains normally associated with pregnancy. For many mothers, the environment creates a heightened sensitivity and connection with the baby, and some have reported a profound experience of “mirroring” from floating in a quiet, warm and secure environment while their baby does the same.
Because circumstances are unique with each pregnancy, use of float tanks should be discussed with a health care professional. The following information will be relevant:
- A “Float” is a 60 minute session in a 95 degree environment suspended in 10 inches of purified water super-saturated with 1000 lbs of pharmaceutical grade MgSO4 (Magnesium Sulfate, a.k.a. Epsom salts). Cutaneous (through the skin) absorption of MgSO4 has not been shown to produce negative side effects associated with ingestion or injection of the mineral.
- The Solution is sterilized between sessions through a process of commercial-grade circulation, filtration and purified using a combination of UV (Ultraviolet Light) and Ozone. No harsh chemicals (Chlorine, Bromine etc) are used in the solution at our facilities.
- Hard surfaces are disinfected using Puregreen24, a level IV EPA registered “Green” disinfectant containing sliver and citrus nitrate, safe for contact with children and animals.
- Only known physical limiations are the ability to get in and out of the tank unassisted.
Yes, it is safe to float while menstruating if using proper hygiene. If you are comfortable and can control your menstruation in a swimming pool, then you can do so in a float tank.
Although float tanks are physically safe for children, some may experience episodes of fear or claustrophobia. In some reports, children mention that the darkness is calm and peaceful as opposed to the scary darkness of their bedrooms at night. Children may use float tanks with parent’s written consent and may require parent’s supervision as well.
Float tanks are not recommended for some people. Anyone with one or more of the following conditions should not use float tanks: uncontrolled epilepsy, drug or alcohol intoxication, infectious disease, open wounds and serious psychological conditions.
Preparing to Float
We recommend you bring any grooming products you may want post-float (hairbrush, product, cosmetics etc). We will provide all other amenities you need: towels, shower products, earplugs, makeup wipes etc. In addition to your float room supplies, our restrooms include extra towels, hairdryers and body lotions.
Float tank sessions are private affairs, so most people wear nothing at all. You may find that even the fabric of a swimsuit rubbing or pressing against your body is a distraction. Non-swim related garments are not allowed (i.e. jeans, down parkas or footie pajamas)
You can float with a full stomach or an empty stomach, but in order to avoid focusing on the sounds and feelings of your digestive tract, experts recommend eating an hour or two before your float.
We provide 90 minute sessions based on the overwhelming benefits indicated by clinical research. You’re welcome to spend less time if you feel you’ve achieved your desired outcome for your session. Speak with an associate if you’re interested in extended sessions.
The time of day is objectively irrelevant. Some people prefer the morning, some the afternoon and others the night. If possible, try a few different times of day and see what benefits you most.
The Experience of Floating
Getting into a float tank is very similar to getting into a bathtub. Once you are in the water, gently lie back, and the salt will keep you afloat.
Floating feels like nothing, which is (unsurprisingly) difficult to describe. Initially the water is pleasantly warm, but quickly becomes less noticeable as the air and water are set to match the temperature of your skin. This equilibrium, combined with the weightlessness from the buoyant solution, results in very little external stimuli and allows your mind and body room to relax, recover and recharge. The specific experience is unique to each individual and each float. However, most people report experiencing strong feelings of peace and relaxation. Some floaters report feeling highly creative or find themselves thinking about profound subjects.
Much like exercise, meditation or therapy, floating is a practice. It is common to have a pleasant and relaxing experience during your first float, and you can expect to find that the experience strengthens and lengthens each time. You may only realize the full therapeutic potential of floating after multiple sessions. Many people find that floating 1-2 times a week allows them to sustain the benefits of floating.