What is floatation therapy?
Floatation Therapy, or floating, is a method of attaining the deepest rest humankind has ever experienced. You spend 90 minutes, or so, lying in 12 inches of warm water which contains over 650 lbs of Epsom salt; the water is so dense that you float effortlessly. Floating in a floatation pod, also known as a sensory deprivation tank, provides the opportunity for complete mental and physical relaxation. Floatation Therapy is used to relieve pain, minimize stress, battle sleep deprivation, provide lasting relaxation, and enhance visualization. What’s unique about floating is that it gives each of us what we need, yet it does so with the same three factors – reduced gravity, sensory deprivation and Epsom salt.
What effects does floatation therapy and sensory deprivation have on the mind?
When you float, you produce slower brain-wave patterns; known as theta waves, (normally experienced just before falling asleep or during deep meditation). This can be accompanied by vivid imagery, very clear, creative thoughts, sudden insights and inspirations. Your mind is free to explore thoughts without distraction, your brain pumps out dopamine and endorphins, the neurotransmitters of happiness. Because of these effects, floating is used effectively in the treatment of depression and addictions, including smoking and alcohol. It is also used in schools and universities as tools for Super Learning.
What is Epsom salt & what are its benefits?
Epsom salt, is named for a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England. It is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making Epsom salt baths an easy and ideal way to enjoy the amazing health benefits. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraine headaches.
What if I’m claustrophobic, will I still enjoy floating?
You are always in control of your environment, you have the ability to open the door to the float pod at any time and leave a light on. While it may seem a bit strange at first, we find that if you give yourself a little time to relax and get used to it, you’ll feel very safe and comfortable. Many people with extreme claustrophobia have reported having no problems with their time in the pod. If you’re not quite ready for a float pod, then you can try our Float Cabin.
What are the differences between floating in the tranquility pods or the cabin?
Once you’re floating, the experience is practically identical in any of our options. We offer two tranquility pods (the traditional style of float tank with sleek modern design), and a float cabin (fully enclosed & 7 feet tall, giving you a feeling of height and space – a great option for first time floaters who may be concerned about claustrophobia or for those who want to float with someone else as it is big enough for two people)
Is there anything I should do to prepare for my float at West Coast Float?
In the 24 hours before you float, do not shave or wax as the Epsom salt water may sting your skin if you have an abrasion. Don’t drink caffeinated beverages for several hours before you float, simply because it can make you a bit jittery. Eating a light meal about an hour to 90 minutes prior to your float should alleviate any hunger pains. That’s it, no other preparation is needed.
Do I need to bring anything to my float at West Coast Float?
Come as you are – we provide everything that you need, making it easy to float after the hill or before work etc. Towels, robes, earplugs, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, a hair dryer, are all provided. You may wish to bring a contact lense case, a brush & your personal beautifying potions.
What do I wear for floatation therapy?
Nothing, floating is done in the nude. However it’s your float, so you can certainly wear a swimsuit, but most people who float at West Coast Float do not so that they will not be bothered by the feeling of something touching their skin.
Do I have to stay in for the whole time?
You are completely in control of your float experience. There aren’t any locks on the pod doors (that’s just weird!), and you can get out at anytime. The 90-minutes usually goes by waaaay faster than you’d expect (the average customer says it felt like 30-45 minutes long).
Will I get cold, like staying in a bath too long?
No, the pod is heated all the time to the perfect temperature to heighten your floating experience. The temperature of the water feels warm when you get in, but it is at normal skin temperature (93.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius), the perfect temperature for floating. You’ll always be nice and warm.
Can more than one person float in at a time?
Yes our Float Cabin allows for 2 people to float at one time and is ideal for couples or BFF’s. While two-person floats are a newer concept in North America, they’ve been popular in Europe for many years and they are a great option for first time floaters.
Is floating at West Coast Float private?
Yes, each float pod is contained within an individual suite (so there is no requirement to wear a swim suit). Each suite has its own shower and is for your exclusive use for the duration of your session.
Am I locked in while experiencing floatation therapy?
No, absolutely not, you are never locked in. You are in complete control of your experience at all times at West Coast Float. There is no lock on the float pod or cabin. There is a lock on the door to your float suite for your privacy. In case of emergency, our staff can quickly unlock the float suite door.
How many times do I need to float to feel results?
Many people experience significant benefits on their first float, however like any form of active wellness, consistent and repeated usage amplifies the results. We find that after your second or third float, you’ll be able to relax both physically and mentally and you’ll really start to feel how awesome floating can be.
How do you clean the pods?
The water is fully filtered 3 times between each float, passing through a 10 micron filter and a brominator. The natural bacterial killing qualities of the Epson salt means that the water in the pods is cleaner than tap water. The cleanliness of the pods and that of our float center is of the utmost importance to us. We are governed by and follow Vancouver Coastal Health regulations. We spend many hours every day cleaning & “bussing our section” and take pride in it.
What if I can’t swim? Can I drown if I fall asleep in the float pod?
Floating doesn’t require any swimming skills what so ever and you can’t drown. There is only 10 inches of water in the pod, and due to the amount of Epsom salt, no matter your size or shape, you’ll float just like a cork. Some people fall asleep, but the water is so buoyant that you will stay afloat. The worst that can happen is getting woken up by a bit of salt water in your eyes.
Do people really sleep in these things?
Yes, because of the deep relaxation floating provides, a lot of people fall asleep when they float. 90 minutes of floating is equal to 4 hours of solid sleep. Many people who suffer from insomnia or jet lag get relief from floating.
Can I float if I have my period?
Yes. Just follow the same protocol you would for a swimming pool or hot tub. Periods are no big deal, lots of us have them.
What’s the longest someone has been in the pod?
Some people enjoying floating for 2 or 3 hours; our friends at Float On in Portland have some customers that regularly float for 7 hours.
Can children float?
Yes. We require that anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Will my skin wrinkle, will the salt hurt my skin?
No, the salt is very good for you and leaves your skin feeling soft and silky after your shower. If you have abrasions, scratches or other cuts, the salt can sting. We suggest you do not shave 24 hours before your session. Polysporin is provided for you to protect any potential sensitive areas.
Do I get dehydrated from soaking for so long?
No, your skin doesn’t even prune up. You do absorb a lot of magnesium from the Epsom salt and that’s super good for your body.
Is there enough air in the pod?
Yes. There is plenty of air in the pod and fresh air is also brought in by a passive air circulation system.
Is anyone not supposed to use the pods?
We don’t recommend pod use for epileptics whose epilepsy is not under medical control. Floating is not permitted for people under the influence of alcohol or drugs, those with infectious diseases or open skin wounds.
Is it boring?
We’re not into boring and anyone who floats regularly will tell you how blissfully comfortable and deeply relaxed they feel whilst floating. You’re as close as you are ever likely to be to an experience of weightlessness; and, surprisingly, there is no feeling of being confined in a tight space.
During the day we are constantly bombarded by sensory input and mental activity. So it makes sense that in your first float your mind will be adjusting to the lack of stimulation and your brain may demand to be entertained. Take some deep breaths and relax into the experience, pretty soon you’ll float away.
Will I be spacey afterward?
Everyone’s float experience is different. Some people report feeling extremely relaxed similar to after you’ve had a great massage, others have a heightened sense of energy and alertness. Take a few moments to check-in with yourself and/or join us in our lounge for tea. We enjoy talking with people about their float, but we also realize that perhaps you just want a few moments of solitude. Give yourself some time before you go to your next activity, you deserve it.
What if nothing happens?
In this age of instant gratification and mult-tasking it can be very difficult to not put expectations on everything that we do. We suggest that you approach your float with compassionate curiosity and allow yourself to simply be in the moment. Know that whatever your experience, your body is receiving the benefits of deep relaxation and everyone’s float is different.
Who invented these crazy devices?
Dr John C. Lily – an American physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, psychonaut, philosopher and writer invented the float pod. Thanks John!
What’s the history of float pods, how long have float pods been around?
The first float pod was developed in 1954 by neuroscientist, Dr John C. Lily who needed to eliminate incoming sensory information to create a control group for his experiments. He ended up discovering that sensory deprivation has a load of benefits that far superseded whatever wild & crazy experiments he was doing. The first lay down commercial pods were invented in the early 70’s.
Is this new-age hippy-dippy stuff?
Floating has been around for over 50 years and there’s a ton of published research by super smart people to back it up. Although after you float you’ll probably feel pretty magical.
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.