We Tried It (and Feel Pretty Relaxed): Float Therapy in a Soundproof, Lightproof, Salt-Water Tank
What Is It: Just Float is a float therapy center that allows clients to spend an hour effortlessly floating in a private salt-water tanks
Who Tried It: Gabrielle Olya, PEOPLE writer and reporter
Level of Difficulty: 1 (on a scale from 1 to 10) If you can lie down, you can do this!
Walking into Just Float, I was a bit nervous. I had no idea what “float therapy” would be like, and didn’t know if I could actually lie in a tub of salt water for an hour without getting extremely restless.
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The floating takes place in a private float room – a walk-in closet sized room filled with 11 inches of water that contains a high quantity of dissolved Epsom salt. Each float room has its own changing area and shower, and anyone using the tank is instructed to shower before and after the float.
Once I was washed up, I entered the float room, which is soundproof and lightproof. The water is heated to 93.5 degrees – the exact temperature of the surface of your skin – so it was extremely comfortable to be in (and I am usually always cold). As soon as I lied down, I immediately floated to the surface.
To begin the one-hour float session, you press a large button on the wall, which turns the lights in the room off. Soft music begins to play. I was uncomfortable with the complete darkness at first, so I opted to keep low lighting on, which I did by pressing the button again.
During this time, it’s recommended you move around until you find a comfortable floating position. Then, you just float, and focus on your breathing. The music turns off after the first few minutes, and soon it is just you and your breath.
Once I got more comfortable, I turned the lights completely off, and the only thing I was fully aware of was my breathing. I felt like I was floating on a cloud (or what I imagine that would feel like!) since the water was at such a perfect temperature that you forget you are actually in a tub of water.
“We’re reducing stimulation to your brain and slowing it down, and eventually after a period of time in there, it’s almost turning off,” explains Jim Hefner, owner of Just Float. “These states are what promote deep relaxation and a meditative-like response.”
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I admit I had trouble turning my brain off completely, but there were long stretches of time when I was able to not think about anything, and just enjoy being there with absolutely zero distractions.
“Float therapy is beneficial for people who have tried meditating and may have been unsuccessful at it,” says Hefner. “People often in their meditation practice get uncomfortable or get distracted by sounds or lights – we’re taking care of all of that for you.”
The Verdict: My float therapy session was unlike anything I had ever experienced before – it’s really something you have to try yourself to understand. Float therapy promises to promote mindfulness and relieve stress, and I truly felt an extreme sense of calm when my float session was over. While I was initially worried about doing nothing for an hour since I am someone who likes constant stimulation, doing absolutely nothing felt so luxurious during my time in the float room. I left feeling more relaxed than I had all week!