Floating is letting go of all of your senses…resting your body; exploring your mind and soul.
Floating is a way to pause the hectic, saturated world and enter a state of deep mental and physical relaxation. By giving yourself a break from the endless input of sensory experiences, your mind has a chance to recharge, rest, and emerge to face the world with renewed perspective and energy.
Otherwise known as floatation-REST (restricted environmental stimulation technique) or sensory deprivation, floating is backed by research and offers immense potential for personal growth and healing.
Whether you want a traditional enclosed tank or an open air, lidless experience, we have a float tank that’s perfect for you at The Float Shoppe.
Every experience with us includes a toasty hot foot bath and complementary herbal tea from Tea Chai Té in our beautiful old Portland house.
HOW IT WORKS
During a float, you step into a quiet, warm, private spa called a float tank and lay back in water in which 1000 lbs of Epsom salts have been dissolved. The water is more dense than the Dead Sea, so you will float right on top—we promise! You will be fully supported, and you will expend no physical energy to stay afloat. The water is kept at a constant temperature of around 95 degrees, which feels warm at first but soon becomes almost imperceptible. When you choose to turn out the lights, your eyes can rest in a comforting darkness that is the same if you open or close them. External sounds are kept to an absolute minimum through extensive soundproofing throughout The Float Shoppe, earplugs, and the design of the tanks themselves.
Without the need to pay attention to changing stimuli, keep yourself vertical, navigate traffic, or have a conversation (unless with yourself), resources which are otherwise devoted to these and other tasks are free for use in problem solving, creative exploration, learning, or simply meditation, rest, and relaxation. Floating is a 90 minute savasana in a powerfully relaxing environment. Gentle music indicates when the end of the session has arrived.
Emerging from a float is an experience in itself. Senses are sharpened, the mind is refreshed, and the world may appear more vibrant. The feeling is often one of peace, relaxation, happiness, and calm attentiveness. We encourage you to explore this state with a cup of tea or in conversation with our staff and others coming out of floats in our lobby. The effects of floating last for hours to days afterwards, and have the potential to last much longer.
The most consistent and widely experienced effect of floating is a sense of deep, lasting relaxation. As humans, we are often brought down by stressful sensory experiences. Dealing with problems at work, home, and in the wider world can cause us to lose sight of the beauty and positivity that life offers in every moment. Floating is a way to pause all of these stressors for 90 minutes and provide the mind and body a needed space for relief and reflection. After leaving the tank, one often finds their tension eased, optimism restored, and ability to appreciate the richness of life revived. This shift in perspective has the ability to follow you into all corners of your life. It’s not uncommon to hear a first-time customer come out of their float and say, “I have never been so relaxed!”
Imagine your mind being cleared of its clutter and all of its mundane housekeeping put on hold. With this space suddenly free for other brain activity, you are able to focus on whatever you please. This allows you to deepen your perspective on any topic, concentrating on solutions to problems or new ideas. Creativity can also be vastly heightened—it is very common for floaters to dip into a theta state, which we normally cross briefly as we fall asleep. This waking dream can be a wonderful place for spontaneous creative inspiration, and we have talked to people who have written songs, books, or math equations while floating. Some of our clients use floating as an exercise in memory, pleasantly recounting past experiences or tackling negative ones. Others use floating as a tool towards learning and meditation, taking advantage of the total lack of distractions to achieve deep focus and awareness. Regardless of where your brain goes during this blissful experience, almost everyone steps out of the tank feeling optimistic and balanced, ready for the world outside.
We believe that where the head goes, the body will follow. As the mind enters a deep state of calm, your body cannot help but experience similar effects. The body has an opportunity to reset and realign itself, and it is common for neck, back, and joints to pleasantly pop during a float. Blood pressure reduces as the body moves away from physical tension related to the “fight or flight” instinct and enters its natural state of rest. Research has demonstrated floating reduces pain of multiple types, whether caused by an acute injury, physical exertion, or chronic condition—including tension-related muscle pain and fibromyalgia. Muscles feel especially positive benefits from floating, as the combination of support and Epsom salt work together to give them total relief. The body absorbs magnesium from the Epsom salt-infused water, which facilitates flushing of lactic acid from tired muscles. An additional benefit enjoyed by many is an excellent night of sleep following a float, which serves those with insomnia or recovering from shift work and jet lag. The relaxed, easy feeling of the post-float glow is something that has to be experienced to be understood.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The only thing you need to bring is yourself, an excited and open mind for what’s to come, and maybe a hairbrush. We will provide everything else you need to have a relaxing and enjoyable float experience. Please see Before Your Float.
That’s up to you, but we encourage you to float in the nude. Strings and ties may be distracting, and a clingy, wet suit might detract from the experience of sensory deprivation. Not only do you have a private room including a private shower, but you will also be completely in the dark when you Float Portland.
Yes, with parental or guardian consent. The youngest person who has floated with us was five years old, and they enjoyed about 30 minutes of floating, saying it was very relaxing. Teenagers come to float on a fairly regular basis. If you would like to bring your child to float, or are under 18 and planning to come in, please contact us to set up parental/guardian consent.
Yes. The water in each tank is 8” deep, and it is nearly impossible to accidentally flip over. Because of the way the body lies on top, the water line does not approach the mouth or nose. You may exit the float tank at any time, and staff are always present on site to assist you. Epsom salt is a commonly used over-the-counter remedy for multiple ailments, and although we highly discourage it, swallowing the water is not dangerous. If the salt water gets in your eye, it is only irritating and can be easily flushed out with fresh water.
Some clients are so relaxed by their floats that they drift into a peaceful sleep. This is fine! You are truly feeling the relaxation effects of your session. The only danger is that you may turn your head and be awakened by the water.
The music that signals the end of your float gradually increases in volume, and is enough to wake up even the most sublimely relaxed of clients. We promise to play trumpets through the speakers of your float tank if our usual soft crescendo of music does not wake you up.
Yes. The incredibly high salt content of the water prevents bacteria and other microorganisms from surviving within the tank. In addition, we filter the water thoroughly, zap it with antimicrobial ultraviolet light, and use an odorless and safe disinfectant at an optimal level for sanitation. This is more than is done for any hot tub or swimming pool. As a result, the water is very clean. We also ask that clients use the showers in the float rooms before and after their sessions. Soap and shampoo are provided in the showers.
Yes! Please bring waterproof earphones and protection for your iPhone, and play the music or meditation at a low level so you can still hear the music that signals the end of your float. We don’t take responsibility for water or salt damage to your earbuds or iPhone, so please be careful and let us know how it goes so we can advise future floaters with the best knowledge available!
Absolutely! Please check first with your midwife or obstetrician, but pregnant people in all trimesters enjoy the relaxation and physical relief of weightlessness found while floating. In the womb-like chamber of the float tank, parents can feel an extra degree of closeness to their babies. We have heard rave reviews about floating while pregnant.
Our vision is for The Float Shoppe and The Float Shoppe Community Space and Yoga Collective to be comprehensive and well-rounded spaces offering an effective variety of alternative treatments and therapies. At the Float Shoppe, we offer yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine, and counseling, in addition to floatation therapy. The Float Shoppe Community Space and Yoga Collective offers yoga, Qi Gong, workshops, and several spaces for use by holistic wellness professionals. Please contact us if you are a therapeutic yoga teacher, massage therapist, TCM practitioner, or other practitioner of the healing arts who is interested in joining us at either location.
Yes! Floating with dyed hair is perfectly okay. Please wait a week after you dye your hair before floating to make sure that any extra color has had the chance to rinse out. As long as you no longer see color coming out of your hair while you shower, you may float. Brightly colored hair, especially pink, seems to take much longer than a week to rinse out. If you are unsure, please just ask!
Yoga teacher Celeste says, “I float fine with my locks in a bun, but afterward I made sure to give them a good rinse and wash with vinegar water and Dr.Bronners – sometimes twice. It takes a while for locks to dry so I would suggest people bring a beanie to wear or use the hairdryer on their roots before they leave so their head isn’t cold. Salt water is supposed to be good for locks, helping them become tighter – so that’s a plus!” Another floater advised not to bring a beanie since this could prevent over-dampness of your locks, advising: “wearing a beanie while your dreads are not completely dry will result in poor drying climate and stinky dreads.” Bottles of each vinegar water and Dr. Bronners soap are provided and can be found in the showers.
Some conditions, such as a perforated eardrum, require that one does not submerge their head in water until the eardrum or other injury is completely healed. Please follow your doctor’s orders, and if you are unsure, then do not float until you have a clear answer that you may do so without risk of harm.
Please refer to the instructions you received with your piercing or tattoo regarding water submersion. You may need to wait a period of time before floating. Allow at least one month after you have received a new tattoo to consider floating in order to protect your art.
BEFORE YOUR FLOAT
So, you’ve made an appointment and are preparing to come in for your float…What do you do? What do you bring? The short answer is: all you need to bring is yourself, and an excited and open mind for what’s to come. Please follow these few tips:
- We will provide you with everything you need, including a towel, shampoo, body wash, ear plugs, lotion, Q-tips, a hairdryer, and conditioner upon request. The only thing you might want to bring is a comb or a hairbrush.
- We recommend floating without a bathing suit. You will have an entirely private room with a shower…so if you choose to wear a bathing suit, nobody will know!
- Have a small meal an hour or two before your appointment.
- Avoid caffeine for at least a few hours before your float
- Don’t shave for at least 24 hours beforehand. (However, shaving your face is usually not a problem.)
- Show up a at least fifteen minutes early for your first float, or as early as you like thereafter, to receive and introduction to floating and relax in our lobby before your float. Peruse our books on floating and enjoy some complimentary tea.
- Parking is available for you in our small parking lot. Please feel free to park in the lot directly in front of The Float Shoppe, however, take care in pulling in as there is a steep incline that may scrape the bottom of some cars. If there are no spots, on-street parking is available throughout the neighborhood–however, at times hard to find.
- If you wear contacts, you may want to remove them before your float. If so, please bring lens solution and anything else you might need.