FAQs

Prepare yourself for the floating experience by reading through our FAQs. We want to offer you the peace of mind that you deserve from beginning to end.

Floating is spending an hour or more in a private, individual restricted environment tank, which is filled with 10”of water and 800 lbs of Epsom Salts. The tank is a covered space, that does not admit light. The water is maintained at 93.5 – 95 degrees, skin temperature. Air is recirculated constantly. It is completely quite (music is optional)

The water is so dense from all that salt, that any human being of any size naturally floats.

We supply everything you need including ear plugs (2 kinds, complementary basic ones and ones designed specifically for water for a nominal fee, and you can use them multiple times. We supply Bio Towels which are sufficient to get you dry but not emotionally fulfilling if you want a fluffy towel experience. If you want that fluffy towel experience please bring your own.

Energy Therapy ™ is my trademarked combination of flotation along with proven energy therapeutic sessions including Reiki. With years of successful experience I’ve discovered ways of manipulating energy in collaboration with regular flotation sessions, FET with a float achieves more than either would individually. This is what athletes call Conjugate Training, and the rest of us call Synergy or the Entourage Effect.

During the day we are constantly bombarded by sensory input and mental activity. Often
 during your first float, your mind will be adjusting to the lack of stimulation and you may be thinking 
you want to be entertained! As you continue to relax and allow the mind to let go, the deep 
relaxation and sense of calm that happens is not boring and is often timeless.

Most people have a little bit of concern about being enclosed in a small space, its normal. Typically if you feel safe being in a dark car, you’ll feel safe in a float tank. At Cloud Nine you are in control of your environment at all times. You can open the door, leave a light on or request music to be play during your float session if you want. The entire environment is in your control. Plus we have an intercom system, so if you need assistance at any time, just call out and we’ll hear you and respond.

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That’s OK. Floating is as easy as taking a bath. You just step in, sit down, and lay back. You can touch the bottom with your hands. There is no skill required. Just let the salty water do the work. The water is incredibly dense because of the amount of dissolved salts. You float on top of the water, no matter what size or shape you are. People often sleep in float tanks and there is no risk of rolling over even if you are asleep.

The water in the float tank is much cleaner than water in a swimming pool, hot tub or, arguably, even your bath tub at home. The high concentration of Epsom Salts creates an environment in which it is very difficult for microorganisms to grow; which is how The Dead Sea got its name. Between every single float, the water is filtered through a triple-filtration process before being re-entering the float tank. That triple filtration process includes passing through a 250,000 gallon swimming pool filter – 1000 times more than our relatively small tanks – and, importantly, an ultraviolet purification filter, similar to those used in municipal drinking water systems, and an ozonator. Additionally, clients are required to rinse on-site before entering the float tank; this further helps maintain water quality and sanitation. The entire interior surface area of our float tanks is cleaned daily.

In short, 800 lbs of Epsom salts.  The salts create a super-state of buoyancy, reproducing a microgravity state that many describe as like floating in deep space. The volume of Epsom salts guarantees that your face stays out of the water at all times, allowing you to fully relax back into a completely effortless state of floating.

This naturally varies person by person. Many describe it as being like drifting in space. For others, it is simply deeply relaxing. Falling asleep is common; it is that relaxing. Some people experience profound meditative mindsets and spiritual insights; some have excellent internal dialogues with themselves; others simply float in peace and quiet. The experience is entirely up to you and can also vary float by float!

As with the question above, the answer is … it varies person by person. For many, the first float is really an exercise in getting used to the experience. Most of us lead such busy and stressful lives that it seems we have totally forgotten how to be fully relaxed. Often the first float is like having a spotlight put on that fact, as you experience a remembering of sorts and work on easing into your body’s fully relaxed state. You might experience a certain duration of “monkey mind”, your brain asking a lot of questions and having expectations to one degree or another about what the experience is going to be. Will I touch the sides? Will I fall asleep? When is this enlightenment going to begin? How long have I been in here? The mind, for most of us, tends to be busy during the first float for at least 15-20 min.

By the second float, though, many of those questions are gone and you find yourself more prepared to fully ease into it and begin your real journey with floatation therapy.

The depth of the water in float tanks is only 10 inches, and is packed with 800 lbs of Epsom salts.  No matter the size, shape or weight of your body; you float. It is not possible to drown in the tank without some effort.  Even if you were to somehow able to flip over in 10 inches of water, the salt in your eyes, nose and mouth would most certainly wake you up.

So not only is it safe to fall asleep in the float tanks, we encourage you to!  It’s been said that one hour of sleep while in a Theta-Delta state, like that which floating induces, feels equivalent to 6-8 hours of regular sleep.  We often sleep in the tanks ourselves for hours at a time.

Because you have a very private space, it is recommended to float in the nude. The reason for this is that a bathing suit serves as a distraction and could detract from the full experience unless you are a minor. Also I frankly don’t know what peoples laundry habits are. Lavender scented laundry detergent and dyer sheets play havoc with the float solution and can take days to rebalance, so erring on the side of safety, you are nude.

Nope. We encourage children to float, depending on the child. Though they may lack some of the mental discipline for more meditative floating, the physical benefits of floating, easing away tension in the body, are as useful to children as they are to adults. Some children prefer their first few floats to be with their parents.

Similarly, there is no upper age limit on floating. If you’re “elderly”, you’ll experience all the same benefits, and enjoy some respite from those nagging aches and pains that perhaps seem a bit more persistent as things slow down for you. You do, however, need to be physically stable and able to get in and out of the tank safely, which involves passing over a doorway threshold two feet high and into highly saline water, which can be slightly slippery.

It’s worth mentioning that in order to use our float tanks, you must have full control over bodily function.  Unfortunately, those with unpredictable intestinal or urinary function (incontinence)  should not float, as this poses a risk to the quality of the water, and therefore safety of others.  Any damage to the water in our float tanks from using them with a known incontinence issue will unfortunately result in a rather large bill of $1500 for 800 lbs of Epsom salts and the time to empty and refill the tank.

Unfortunately, our staff are not able to assist with getting clients in and out of the tanks, though someone needing extra support is welcome to bring a friend, family member or other assistant to help them. They can stay in the float room (outside the tank itself) during the float session, should they be needed, or they can relax in the lounge areas with a cup of tea in the common areas until the float session is over.

Yes! We typically play music for the first 10 minutes and the last 5 minutes of a float. The music at the end is your “wake up call”, your way of knowing that the float is over. This is to enable you to not have to worry about time while you’re floating; we’ll take care of that concern for you!

We typically use music that has an isochronic tones, a pulse that runs in the background of the music which helps entrain the brain to certain frequencies. In particular, this helps induce a theta or delta state in the brain, the brainwave state that’s somewhere between an awake state and a dream state. Here’s an example of music we play during floats:

You can also opt to have this music play only at the end at your wake up call or all the way through. It’s up to you! We have several options beyond the isochronic tones including Weightless by Marconi Union which is designed to reduce stress levels up to 65%, The Dalai Lama’s Greatest Hit, a Chakra Initiation and balancing sound meditation, and even Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd!

If you want to bring in your own music on any device with a 2.5mm audio jack, we’re happy to plug that in for you during your float.

There are dozens and dozens – if not hundreds, at this point – of clinical studies demonstrating the therapeutic efficacy and mechanisms of action of floatation therapy and sensory deprivation. A full list of clinical papers can be downloaded for free from Float Tank Solutions. Below is just section A alone, as an example:

  • Adams, H. B. – Arousability and the Nature of Alcohol and Substance Abuse
  • Adams, H. B. – Therapeutic Potentialities of Sensory Deprivation Procedures – International Mental Health Research Newspaper 6(4), 7-9
  • Adams, H.B. – The Incredible History of REST Technology – Restricted Environmental Stimulation: Research and Commentary. pp.11 -28. Toledo, Ohio: Medical College of Ohio Press
  • Adams, H. B. – Effects of reduced stimulation on institutionalized adult patients& – “In P. Suedfeld, Restricted Environmental Stimulation.”” Research and Clinical Applications. New York: Wiley, pp. 320-364.”
  • Adams, H. B. – Studies in REST III: REST, Arousability and the nature of alcohol and substance abuse – Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 5, 77-81
  • Adams, H. B. – Studies in REST: Arousability and the nature of alcohol and substance abuse – Report for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service
  • Adams, H. B. Robertson, M. H., Cooper, G. D. – Facilitating Therapeutic personality change in patients by sensory deprivation. – Paper presented at the International Congress of Psychology
  • Adams, H. B., Cooper, G. D., & Carrerra, R. N. – Individual differences in behavioral reactions of psychiatric patients to brief partial sensory deprivation – Perceptual and Motor Skills, 34, 199-217
  • Adams, H. B., Cooper, G. D., & Scott, J. C. – REST and reduced alcohol consumption – Proceedings of 2nd International Conference on REST
  • Åsenlöf, K., Olsson, S., Bood, S. Å., & Norlander, T. – Case studies on fibromyalgia and burn-out depression using psychotherapy in combination with flotation-REST: Personality development and increased well-being. – “Imagination, Cognition and Personality”
  • Atkinson R. – “Short-Term Exposure to REST: Enhancement Performance on a Signal-Detection Task.” – “Clinical and Experimental Restricted Environmental Stimulation: New Developments and Perspectives. pp.93-100. New York: Springer-Verlag New York Inc.”
  • Atkinson, Richard – Short-Term Exposure to REST: Enhanced Performance on a Signal-Detection Task – Selected Papers from Clinical and Experimental Restricted Environmental Stimulation, p. 93-100
  • Azima, H., Vispo, R.; Azima, F.J. – “Observations on anaclitic therapy during sensory deprivation.” – “In P. Solomon, P E. Kubzansky, P. H. Leiderman, J. H. Mendelson, R.Trumbull & D. Wexler, Eds., Sensory Deprivation, Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 143-160.”

There’s also some amazing research on the benefits of floatation therapy – in particular for PTSD, depression and anxiety disorders – being conducted at The Laureate Institute For Brain Research (LIBR), a privately-funded medical research facility in Tulsa, OKlahoma. LIBR’s “float lab” was built specifically for studying the therapeutic impacts of floating, has access to an fMRI machine for doing immediate pre- and post-float brain mapping studies, and has even designed brand new EEG technology that can be worn by study subjects while floating. You can learn more about that at laureateinstitute.org.

Unless you are an experienced meditator who has achieved heightened or altered states through mind training alone, it is unlikely, although certainly possible, that you will experience any kind of “trip” as has been often popularized about sensory deprivation therapy.  Keep in mind that much of the hallucinatory association that movies like Altered States created with floatation therapy is based on taking large amounts of psychedelic substances beforehand; you would “trip out” taking psychedelic substances no matter what you’re doing.

The mind is a curious thing, though; you never quite know what you might experience once you shut out the outside world and all its various stimuli and tap into a different set of sensory awareness. Certainly, floatation therapy is an outstanding meditation and mind training tool. One thing though. So far no one has transmuted into a simian ape in our float tanks. If that does happen to you, there would be a cost to cleaning the filter.

There are two answers to that question. The long answer is our float sessions don’t come with interdimensional beings by default.  Or electric eels.  Or mind-melting chemical agents.  But if you’d like the Stranger Things or other movie/TV experience of floating, we’d gladly add some interdimensional beings or electric eels (or both! why choose?) for a small fee.  Those electric eels consume a lot of energy from Tucson Electric, so we’re always happy to recoup their costs whenever we can. Of course that was written with humor. The short answer is “no”.

Yes. If we define “psychedelic” appropriately. The word ‘psychedelic’ is compound from ‘psyche’ and the Greek word ‘dēlos’, meaning ‘clear, manifest’. In other words: mind made clear, or mind manifested. Within this context, floating is absolutely a psychedelic experience, as it is an induced meditation environment and drops the floater into a deep mental experience.

Per the question above, floating is not like an acid trip, despite how it is continually sensationalized in the media.

But it is an incredibly useful tool for examining the mind, since after the exteroceptive (external) sensations abate and you no longer are aware of your physical body, all that remains to experience is the mind.

Interestingly, fMRI and EEG studies have found that floating produces extremely similar neurological effects as psychedelic substances, in particular production of oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, along with a deep level of both relaxation and activation in the brain’s “default mode network”.

Although people do routinely experience some degree of shapes, lines and other visual distortions during a float (deprived of input, the human brain generates it’s own light and entertainment), typically you won’t be seeing mandalas or sacred geometrical shapes like you might on LSD. 🙂

No.  The water in our float tanks is not changed after each float, it is purified through a triple-filtration process and cycled back into the tank.  This destroys all normal levels of bacterial or microbial elements in the water from regular use, but it would not effectively deal with a mishap related to an incontinence issue.  In order to use our float tanks, you must have full control over bodily functions.  Unfortunately, those with unpredictable intestinal or urinary function should not float, as this poses a risk to the quality of the water, and therefore safety of others.  Any damage to the water in our float tanks from using them with a known incontinence issue will unfortunately result in a rather large bill for 800 lbs of Epsom salts.

Yes, provided you are 100% secure in your barrier device for containing menstrual fluids (e.g. tampon, Diva Cup).

If you are unsure, please wait to schedule your float.

Unfortunately, no, not at the moment.  This is something the collective of flotation therapy centers around the nation are working on together.  We hope that flotation therapy will become covered by insurance, particularly for management of injuries, just as other historically “alternative” forms of healthcare, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy and massage therapy, now are.  The best way you can help make this happen is by contacting your insurance company and telling them that you want floatation therapy covered under your insurance plan.

We have seen clients using debit card-style Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Account (HAS and FSA) Cards to successfully pay for their floats. If you have an HSA or FSA card and want to see if floating will be covered, you could try pre-paying for a session before coming in for your float. That way you’ll know ahead of time if it’s covered or not.

Let’s answer the second question first: no, absolutely not.  Nothing can be added to our float tank solution.  Anything that gets added is a contaminant that risks replacement of the solution and a very large bill for 800 lbs of Epsom salts.   We heard about someone adding a bath bomb to their float at another center.  That was the most expensive effervescent bath for that person ever.

The broader question is about our use of scents throughout our center, which is important for those with MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity – to be aware of.   NO scents are used in our float rooms, beyond what comes from the shower soap, shampoo and conditioner.   We keep our float rooms as sensory-neutral as possible.

We do, however, have essential oil nasal inhalers that you may purchase for $7.50 each. These scents allow you nose to experience them, while keeping the solution and room free of aroma. We also occasionally diffuse some essential oils in our lobby and we do occasionally burn sage or palo santo in our treatment rooms.

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