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 quiet (music is optional) The water is so dense from all that salt, that any human being of any size naturally floats.
Flotation Energy Therapy ™ is my trademarked combination of flotation along with proven energy therapeutic sessions. With years of successful experience I’ve discovered ways of manipulating energy in collaboration with regular flotation sessions, 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. 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.
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 salts added to the water make it incredibly dense (more dense than the Dead Sea). and therefore increase the buoyancy of the water. No matter what shape or size you will find yourself able to float on top of the water.
Because of the deep relaxation created, it is common for people to fall asleep in the tank. In fact, one hour of floating is equivalent to 4 hours of deep sleep. The buoyancy of the water will keep you floating. There is no risk or problem with allowing yourself to drift away.
Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate. It is found naturally in many spa waters. It is very different from sea salt or table salt, which is mainly sodium chloride. Epsom salt has been used medicinally for centuries to treat various health issues. It is non toxic and won’t harm you if you swallow some, but try not to as it has a very bitter and salty taste. We use it for two main reasons: it raises the density of the water, making it much easier to float, and it softens your skin.
Floating is extremely sanitary. Best science right now says the water and highly dense salt environment does not support any bacteriological or viral growth. In addition, the water is regularly circulated and filtered. Correct sanitation levels are constantly monitored.
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. If you must float in clothes, please come with white underwear with no wires or metals.
No, the salt is actually very good for the skin and leaves you 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 4 hours before your session. Petroleum jelly is provided for you to protect any potential areas of sensitivity.
No, you are never locked in. You are in control of your experience at all times.
Yes, it is safe for children. However, we require children under the age of eleven to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Expectations are one of the greatest hindrances to having a good float, and life itself for that matter. Just allow yourself to let go and know that whatever your mind experience may be, your body is receiving the benefits of deep relaxation.
During a float, you produce slower brain-wave patterns, known as theta waves, (normally experienced only during deep meditation or just before falling asleep). This can be accompanied by vivid imagery, creative thoughts, sudden insights and inspirations or feelings of profound peace and joy, induced by the release of endorphins, the body's natural opiates. All of this helps you with mind expansion with a total reset from having all outside sensory input eliminated.
In the gravity free environment the body balances and heals internally as all the senses are rested. Research shows that floating measurably reduces blood pressure and heart rate normalizes while lowering the levels of stress related chemicals in the body. While floating, your body experiences a state of weightlessness. This means your postural muscles don't have to work which is a huge release of your processing. The muscles send a chemical message to the brain saying in effect "You can relax too, the environment is friendly" The blood vessels near the skin relax allowing more blood flow. Within a few minutes you feel better, less stressed, your body and mind become more relaxed more quickly than in any other natural state. The increased blood flow and freedom from pressure promotes healing of muscle strains and relief from joint pain. The more you float the better it gets. Furthermore, the effects lasts not just all day but for a day or two afterwards and the effects are cumulative, meaning, the body begins to pattern itself in this state. Athletes love floating because it helps their muscles recover in about half the time. Over 28 professional and college sports teams have float tanks in their training rooms, and elite athletes like olympians and cross fit as well as elite soldiers have been floating as part of their training and recovery for decades.
The benefits of floating will happen even with only one float, however, like any therapy, consistent and repeated usage amplifies the results. Expect to go 3-4 times within 6 weeks to get the full experience of total relaxation.and notice the feeling and difference that floating can make. Many people, including the owner of Cloud Nine have been floating daily or weekly for many years. Many float once a week. Some twice a month, some once a month, and others whenever they feel that they need it. People have different reasons for floating. Many are using it to relieve stress, some are using it to compliment treatments, and others are using it for self awareness. The frequency and duration of your floats will depend on what your reasons for floating are.
• Just yourself, everything else is provided for you. • Eat a light meal 1.5 hours prior to floating. • Don't consume any caffeine up to 6 hours prior to floating. • If you wear contacts, be prepared to remove them. • Don't shave within 24 hours or wax within 48 hours prior to float.
Floatation has been called "Sensory Deprivation" or "Isolation Chambers". However one is not "Deprived" of their senses when they float. It is true that much of the stimulus is filtered out, but we found that people actually go into a heightened sensory state during and after their floats. You won't hear outside sounds or see outside light, but you will be aware of your breathing and heartbeat. With all the negative outside influence, unplugging yourself from all that noise leaves you in about the safest place you can be.
People’s experiences vary. Sometimes you may experience the feeling of being extremely relaxed similar to after a good massage, but often people feel the opposite and have a heightened sense of alertness and energy. Be aware of how you feel after the float and give yourself some transition time as part of your scheduled float.
No, the tank 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 in fact it is at normal skin temperature (93.5 degrees Fahrenheit), the perfect temperature for floating.
Yes. Research shows that floating is much more effective than bed-rest. It is researched that each hour of change in a time-zone takes a full day to recover. This recovery time is usually a much less productive or enjoyable time. If you are on vacation or doing business, this recovery time can diminish the quality of your trip. Each hour of floating has been shown to be equivalent to approximately 4 hours of deep sleep. A 2-hour float can recover your sleep from almost anywhere in the world
Floating is safe for just about anybody. There are, however, a few groups of people that we would recommend float only with a doctor’s permission: • Epileptics or those with seizures.* • Pregnant women in their 1st trimester • Postnatal (about 3 months, check with a physician first). • Anyone with skin rashes or open sores.** • Anyone with an infectious or contagious disease.** • Women who are experiencing a heavy menstrual flow. *Also would require an aid or assistant * Floating not recommended at all.
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. Please see our Science & Media section for more information.
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.
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 tone, 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.
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 of cleaning the filter.
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.
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. 🙂
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 floatation therapy centers around the nation are working on together. We hope that floatation 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 tanks. 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 lip balms that you may purchase for $5 each in Lavender (for rest), Rosemary (for remembering) and Spearmint (to stay awake). These scents moisturize your lips and 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.