We Tried It (and Feel Pretty Relaxed): Float Therapy in a Soundproof, Lightproof, Salt-Water Tank

01/26/2016 at 11:23 AM ET

Just FloatCourtesy Just Float

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.

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.”

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!

FILED UNDER: Health , We Tried It

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Hank on

I tried my first float tank experience here. I agree that it is hard to put into words exactly what it does, but I can string together a series of words that come to mind. Rested, centered, calm, reset button, connected, relaxed, a massage without being touched. Such a positive experience, that I have gone back any time I’m in SoCal (twice in 4 months) from the Bay Area.

Becky on

How does one not fall asleep? I could definitely see myself falling asleep with something so relaxing.

Greg on

What happens in the float tank is something you can try describing to somebody, but until you actually do it for yourself, you have no idea. Don’t just try floating once before deciding whether or not it’s for you. It often takes 2-3 sessions for one’s body and mind to get used to the new experience. My first time was wonderful, my third float was out of this world.

dexter on

35 years ago, this was known as a “sensory deprivation tank” (duh)

Annmarie Loetz on

Thank you, I’ve recently been looking for information about this topic for ages and yours will be the greatest I’ve identified out so far. But, what in regards towards the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the supply?

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