Floating Questions and Answers

1. Do I need to prepare myself for floating?                                                            Not really.  A thirty minute orientation is included with your first float session. However, avoiding caffeine and alcohol for a day before you float might help you to relax and have a better experience. If you shave you might want to postpone doing so if possible. Shaving two to three hours before using the tank may make recently shaved skin sting fairly intensely for a short time.

2. Do I need to bring anything?                                                                                    We supply you with everything you need, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, body lotion, ear plugs and towels. If you wear contact lenses we suggest removing them as we can not guarantee that the salt water will not damage them. We do supply a contact case and solution to use while you are in the tank if have forgotten your own. The vanity in the float room has many amenities such as Q-tips, lotions, etc. If you feel we have missed something please let us know.

3. How long do people usually stay in the Float Tank?                                 Normal sessions are an hour or an hour and a half, but you can exit the tank whenever you desire. Longer sessions of up to three hours at a time are popular with some regular floaters.

4. Are there any known side effects to floating?
Only if you consider feeling kind of zen and mellow for a while to be a side effect.

5. What do I do while I float?
You don’t have to “do” anything. Our Orientation covers tips and tricks for that first float.  Floating is usually a passive experience, so the less you “do” the deeper you will relax. The first session is a little tricky but it becomes easier the more you float. Once you learn to relax, usually within about, ten minutes you are on the edge of sleep, in a dreamy but conscious state where time doesn’t seem to exist. Most people just lay back and enjoy just letting go and flowing with wherever the experience takes them.

However, if you choose to you can use your time to “actively” direct the experience in the tank. For example: Prepare for an important meeting, exam or presentation by going through it in your head. If you have a regimen where you meditate, pray, do breathing exercises, or anything to help you relax to go to sleep, you may want to take a few moments to do that before you float or at the beginning of your session.  Our recommendation is that you do your first few floats just concentrating on relaxing and doing “nothing.” It is said that you can do accelerated learning in the tank, so if you are trying to learn something, like a new language, we can stream that into the tank. That is the only time I suggest playing any kind of sound into the tank. You will not have the same experience or “go” to the same place with any kind of “sound” as you will in complete silence. Therefore, silence is recommended.

6. What will it be like for me?
We don’t know what it will be like for you personally. The most common affects reported are that you may experience profound calmness and relaxation, deep concentration and creativity. We like to avoid saying too much right before you use the tank. The power of suggestion may influence how you benefit from the session. You want to maximize the experience that is awaiting you. Not only will your float be different for you than it is for anyone else, you could find it may be different each time you float, depending on what is going on in your life.

Some people may have a more difficult time relaxing than others. For those with meditation experience it is easier to achieve total relaxation. Don’t expect to relax fully right away. Others become stressed because they think they are taking too long to relax. It takes at least twenty minutes for all of your muscles to relax simultaneously. That is why your second float is free. The experience feels more familiar to you so you tend to relax more quickly on subsequent floats. Most people need three float sessions relatively close together before they can really let go. After that you start feeling like a floating “pro”.

7. Is there a right way to float?
No. Each person should find whatever position is comfortable for him or herself. We offer numerous suggestions during our orientation as to why there is no right way or wrong way to float. You can float with your head at either end of the tank. However, the end with the door sometimes accumulates condensation and could drip on your face. The ceiling of the tank has heating elements to help prevent this from occuring.

8. Do people get scared or claustrophobic in the float tank?
Not usually. When you float you are in complete control of getting in and out of the tank. Once people realize that the water is not even as deep as your bathtub and it really isn’t confining, you can sit up and move around. You can enter or exit whenever you desire. The door has no latches, is very light weight and can be pushed open with just a finger or two. To achieve your best results in the tank you should be as relaxed as possible. We make every effort to help you reach that state.  If, in fact, you truly are claustrophobic and still want to learn to float, talk to us about it. We have helped several people through their claustrophobia. Even a girl who couldn’t ride elevators was surprised to enjoy her first full hour in the tank.   If you try but must exit tank within upto 15-20 minutes you will not be charged for the session. You have nothing to lose by giving it a try. And much to gain if you can work it out.

9. Do you wear anything in the float tank?
Most people wear nothing. Anything you wear will get very heavy with the salt solution and press against your body, becoming a distraction. The room is very private and you step right into the shower from the tank.

10. Do people sleep in the float tank?
Yes, some people fall asleep in the tank, and others use the tank for just that purpose. They usually report a very restful rejuvenating sleep. You are unlikely to get the urge to roll over because there are no pressure points. If you did roll over, the salty water in your mouth, nose and eyes would wake you up immediately. Many times, even if you don’t actually fall asleep you reach a point that is so relaxed you loose track of time and space. Sometimes you may not even be sure if you fell asleep or not. That is actually the best place to be. If you really don’t want to fall asleep in the tank, do your best to come as well rested as you can.

11. How does the Epsom salt water affect my skin and hair?
The Epsom salt solution has many beneficial properties for the skin. We have no information on the effects of salt on hair. You thoroughly wash and rinse the salt from your hair and body after you exit the tank. We have not found a good way to keep hair dry while floating.

12. Should I eat before I go into the float tank?
You may eat. If you eat a very heavy meal you may spend a lot of time listening to your digestive juices. On the other hand, you may not want to spend your time in the tank feeling very hungry and listening to your stomach growl. Eat lightly if you eat immediately before going into the tank.

13. Will I float if I have never been able to float anywhere else? 
Yes. Even those “swimmers” that sink like a rock will float in the tank. It is impossible not to. The tank solution is ten times more buoyant than seawater. Eight hundred pounds of salt dissolved in the water make the solution so much denser that your body is buoyed to the surface like a cork. It is designed to support your body fully and evenly, giving you that pleasurable, liberating feeling of weightlessness. Your face is completely out of the water from the ear line up. Your ears will be under water so earplugs are recommended.

14. Is there a best time to use the float tank?
It is a matter of individual preference. Some people prefer floating in the morning, others prefer floating at night. Some prefer the afternoon at a time when they usually start running out of energy. Many people say an hour in the tank feels like a four hour nap.

15. Are float tanks more hygienic than Jacuzzis or swimming pools?

Yes. Four things make your float so hygienic. First, is the high concentration of the Epsom salt that kills viruses and bacteria. Second, the water in the float tank is completely filtered and sanitized after every float session. Third, we use Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide instead of chlorine, and the fourth reason is that there is an Ultra Violet purification system hooked up to the filtering process. It is one of the best ways to purify the water before the next floater enters the tank.

NOTE:   Our filtration and sterilization system was custom built for Soothing Solutions to meet our standards. The brand name of our filter is Hayward, one of the best in the business. This filter is 2 micron, 24 sq ft, 4500 gph, which is 6x’s more than required. We also use all natural green recyclable filter cartridges. The Jebco Ultra Violet filter sterilizes 6000 gallons of water per hour, 10x’s more than required.

It is typically run 15 minutes between floats which cycles the water 30x’s. The water is also filtered for an hour at the beginning and end of each day.

16. Can two people float in the float tank at the same time?
No. The tank is intended to be an individual experience. There is not enough room for two. Any movement by one person would disturb the other and the solution is unfriendly to the taste and does not taste salty like the ocean. It stings if splashed in your eyes. The tank is meant for individual solitude.

17. Will I be able to resume my daily activities when I get out?
Yes. But it is recommended that you try to schedule when you do not have to rush in any way. If you are new to floating it may be a good idea to keep your schedule somewhat open for a short period following the float so you can savor the experience for a while. It is always nice to take time to slowly ease yourself back into a hectic schedule. Most people feel very Zen and mellow. Others feel totally reenergized and revitalized.

18. Is there anyone who should not float?

We suggest that people with schizophrenia, or epileptics whose epilepsy is not under medical control, not float. If you have a kidney condition, acute skin disorder, diabetes or are pregnant we suggest that you ask your doctor’s advice about soaking in the Epsom salts. If you have any reason for thinking that it may not be good for you, check with your doctor first.

19. Can people use drugs or alcohol in the float tank?
Absolutely NOT! We do not allow people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to use the float tank under any circumstances.

20. Can floating really improve my sex life?

Possibly.  Michael Hutchison in his excellent “Book of Floating” mentions that an improved love-life is a widely reported bonus of regular floating. Certainly, many sexual problems are related to mental stress and physical tension. Getting your mind off of the problems of the day could be a major assist in that area.

In this age of the “quick fix”, it has been said that if someone could capture the effects of floating in a pill, it would quickly outsell Valium, Prozac and Viagra combined.  There is a growing movement towards natural solutions to the problems of daily life: solutions with no unwanted side-effects. The benefits of floating are natural, long-term and cumulative. Every time you float, you re-enforce the health benefits of the Relaxation Response. In the tank, your body “learns” what true relaxation feels like…a skill it will never “forget”.

21. Is there any proof that floating actually works?
There are over one hundred universities and medical research facilities, several dozen sports science units, and at least two national sports institutes working with floatation REST (Restricted Environment Stimulation Therapy). The effects of floating have been scientifically researched and documented since the first tank was built as a research tool over forty years ago. Floatation REST even played a part in the NASA astronaut training programs. There is abundant evidence that floating “works.” Detailed information on REST research can be obtained from IRIS, (International REST Investigators Society), in the USA.


Soothing Solutions Beginners Guide     History of Floating

Theories of How Floating Works     Soothing Solutions Float Testimonies