FLOAT will be on hiatus through Summer 2023. Please see our blog for details.
Floating is an unusual thing. Lots of people have questions. Please watch our orientation video to learn what you’ll need to know before floating.
Do I need to bring anything?
If you wear contacts, it’s good to bring a case, your solution, and your glasses. You also do need to shower before and after getting in the tank, so if you have special toiletries you want, you should bring those, too. If you have long hair, you might want to bring a brush. (We do provide soap, shampoo, and towels.)
Currently we provide our private label Lemongrass & Sage Body Wash, shampoo, and moisturizer. We provide combs, a hair dryer, and Alba Detangling Spray at the communal mirror. We also have Dr. Bronner’s Unscented liquid soap, available by request.
Do I need a bathing suit?
Nope! Your chamber is totally private. But if you’re more comfortable wearing one, that’s okay of course.
Anything else I should know before coming in?
- Do not leave any bodily fluids of any kind in the tank! You will be charged up to a $1,000 fee if the tank must be drained, sanitized and refilled with salt. It’s clean when you get in; it must be the same when you leave.
- You may not want to drink coffee for several hours beforehand as it makes it harder to relax.
- Don’t shave or wax too soon before getting in as the salt water may sting irritated skin. The same for fresh tattoos, and more serious cuts or scrapes. If you want to check your skin integrity, apply some hand sanitizer: stinging tells you everything you need to know.
- Fresh tattoos will sting, but also the design is more susceptible to blowout if you are in still water for any amount of time. Please follow the care instructions your tattoo artist gave to you.
- If you have recently had your hair dyed, it’s important to make sure the dye has had time to set completely or there is a chance the float water could bleach it. (If it doesn’t come off when you dry with a towel, you’ll be okay in the tank.)
- Anyone getting keratin treatments to their hair should avoid saltwater, and that includes float tanks.
- If you have very thick or curly hair, or locs, it may be difficult to rinse all of the salt out of your hair in the 5-10 minutes we give you after your wakeup signal. You might consider timing your floats for days when you visit your hairstylist, so they can help you get a thorough rinse. If it’s okay for your hair, a white vinegar rinse will get rid of any salt residue.
- If you cannot wash your hair, you may bring a waterproof (e.g. silicone) swim cap. (We also have one to borrow.) Please be aware that no swim cap is perfect, and leaking is common around the ears and jaw. Even small amounts of float tank water contain amazing amounts of salt.
- Eating a small meal about one hour prior to your float is ideal. It’s best if you’re not distracted by hunger, or overfull digesting a heavy meal.
- You may bring your own shower shoes IF they have never been outside.
Are there any other rules?
It SHOULD go without saying, but no bodily fluids in the tanks – no spitting, no mucus, please help us keep it all clean. (It’s $500 of Epsom salt if we have to drain a tank, and more than a day of cancelled appointments to dissolve and warm up new solution. If bodily fluids are left behind, we will charge you a cleaning fee of up to $1,000, and may ban you as well.)
Also, we will not allow intoxicated, high, or altered clients to float. Impaired judgment and water are a bad mix; please don’t endanger yourselves or our business.
How much does it cost?
Please see our price menu. We feel strongly that floating is for everyone, and try to run a variety of programs to support people who can’t afford our regular prices, including Community Hours. Please contact us to ask about current and upcoming options.
Does it matter which tank I float in?
There are a few differences between the Escape Pod and Summer Sky tanks, but both will give you a real float experience. Summer Sky tanks are taller so they have more headroom and are easier to get in and out of if you have any mobility troubles. They also have interior lighting (that you can turn on and off as you like) with a pretty starlight sky effect. For both these reasons, people concerned about claustrophobia often prefer them.
The Escape Pod tanks have less headroom (you can kneel in them but not stand up) but that means less air to heat up so the humidity is more steady. They may also be a little quieter for a purer float experience.
In the end we charge the same price for both styles because the differences are not as important as what they have in common, which is the warm, dark, quiet pool of Epsom salt water to float in. Many people simply take whichever tank is available at the time they want to float.
What’s the difference between packages and memberships?
A membership is a subscription that charges a recurring fee every month to your credit card. You also gain extra benefits as a member, such as a discount on retail items.
Packages are a one-time purchase.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely. You can’t float together in the same tank, but you can book floats at the same time.
Where can I park?
There is 2- and 3-hour metered parking available in front of FLOAT on Medford St and in the city lot across the street (behind CVS). There is also free parking around Trum Field two blocks away. We have a map for you.
Are you on the T?
We are a six minute walk up Lowell from the Magoun Square stop on the Green Line. We are also served by frequent buses including service from Davis Sq (routes 89 and 90), Lechmere (route 80), Sullivan Sq (routes 89 and 101), and Medford Center (route 101).
Is the water clean?
Absolutely. Float tank water is generally cleaner, in fact, than most swimming pools or hot tubs because only one person uses them at a time, and they aren’t sweating or wearing sunblock. And we take keeping our water clean very seriously.
The main factor keeping the float tank water clean is the high salt concentration itself. Nothing pathogenic can grow in such salty water. Then we sanitize by treating with germ-killing UV light between every client, and back that up by maintaining an active dose of hydrogen peroxide in the tank at all times. Filtering to remove oils and particulates is taken care of by a swimming-pool-sized filter unit. We filter aggressively between every client, turning the whole contents of the tank over three to four times, to keep our water sparkling.
Do big people fit in the tank?
They’re seven and a half feet long on the inside, so unless you’re Shaq, you should be fine. (Sorry, Shaq.)
People weighing over 400 lbs have floated with us without a problem.
Note: larger bathrobes are available. If you’d like one, please let us know. We’ll make a note to set one out in your room whenever you visit.
Will I float? I sink in the ocean.
Our tanks contain over 900 lbs of epsom salt, so the water is denser than the Dead Sea. Don’t worry, you’ll definitely float. (Unless your bones have been replaced with adamantium – sorry, Wolverine.)
Is the water hot?
The water is warm but not hot. We keep it as close as we can to skin temperature, 93.5°F. That allows you to float as long as you like without getting chilled or overheated, and it’s neutral for your skin temperature receptors so you won’t even really feel it’s there.
Some people come expecting the water to be hot like a bath or a jacuzzi, and it’s not. If you take a very hot shower before entering the tank, it can even feel cool. To ease your transition into the tank we suggest you try showering a little cooler than usual.
If you do get chilled in the tank, or you’re worried you might, let us know. Not everyone runs at exactly the same body temperature, and there are adjustments we can make to let your float be a little warmer if you like.
What if I dye my hair?
This is generally no problem. If your dye is fresh, though (less than a week), there is a chance the float water could bleach it. Our guideline is that you should wait until the dye is set enough that it doesn’t come off when you dry with a towel. We’d hate for you to damage expensive work, and we’d prefer you don’t dye our tanks. We’ll be happy to help you reschedule if necessary, no problem.
Also note that traditional highlights aren’t color on hair, it’s that the pigment has been stripped from the hair shaft. Nothing will reverse that! It will be fine. (One concern with pools and light or highlighted hair is that the hair will turn green. We don’t use chlorine, so that isn’t a problem here.)
However, if you use keratin treatments, it’s recommended that you avoid saltwater, and that includes float tanks. Sorry.
Can I float for longer than 75 minutes?
Sure! Just book two (or more) floats back to back. We’ll leave you undisturbed to float right through. You’ll get the extra 45 minutes of what’s normally cleaning time between sessions as a bonus, so a double float is 3¼ hours, and a triple is 5¼ hours. (And if you’re into something like this, be sure to ask us about a package or membership to save some money.)
What’s the best time of day to float?
It depends! People find that different times of the day produce different floats. You might go deeper late at night, or during mid-afternoon (“nap o’clock”), or if you want to stay a little more alert, you might avoid those times. It’s good to explore different times to see what works best for you.
Can I drive home?
Generally this is no problem. Some people, though, do come out of the tank in a very trance-y, sleepy altered state, and need some time to come back to normal before being ready to drive.
We encourage you not to be in a hurry to get out the door after your float. We have tea and comfortable chairs you’re welcome to occupy for as long as you like. Unfortunately, while the pandemic is active, we have closed our relax space. We must ask you to limit your time with us.
Can I float if I’m sick or suffering allergies?
Please reschedule your appointment if you have had any Covid symptoms in the last 7 days. If you’re coughing, sneezing, or your nose is running, floating is not a great idea – it will be almost impossible for you to avoid getting the saltwater in your face and that will sting a lot. We want you to enjoy your float, and you won’t if your nose is burning. Also, if you are contagious, it is kindest to others to stay home. We will be glad to help you reschedule your appointment.
What about asthma or other respiratory problems?
The air inside the tank is warm (low 90s) and quite humid. Some people’s lungs may not be comfortable with that, while others find it actually beneficial to their breathing. You may know what your lungs prefer – please try if you like. If you’re unsure, let us know, and if it doesn’t work out we’ll be glad to reschedule or refund you.
Can I float if I’m menstruating?
Yes. Just use the same precautions you’d use for a swimming pool or hot tub, e.g. a menstrual cup or tampon. If you use tampons, we recommend a fresh one before you float, and a change after you get out. If you’re caught without your supplies, there are regular Tampax and pads in the bathroom at Float.
Can I float if I’m pregnant?
As always, it is important that you check with your health care provider first, for any conditions that might be specific to you. We are not qualified to give medical advice. We’ve prepared a fact sheet about floating to help health care providers make decisions: Talking about floating with your doctor.
Many people have no problem with floating through their pregnancy, and report that they find powerful relief in a tank, and also a wonderfully enhanced connection with their baby. See our extended discussion of the subject.
What if I’m diabetic?
There is some indication that magnesium (from epsom salt) can affect your blood glucose, but this is not well studied. It is also possible that soaking in epsom salt can dry your skin, increasing your risk of cracking. If you are diabetic, please consult your doctor before floating. We’ve prepared a fact sheet about floating to help health care providers make decisions: Talking about floating with your doctor.
Are there any other contraindications?
Generally, contraindications include powerful sedatives, being prone to seizures (e.g. epilepsy), or schizophrenia. Magnesium from the epsom salt can have interactions with certain antibiotics and muscle relaxants, and may be an issue if you have kidney problems. People with low blood pressure should take extra care, especially when standing up after floating. If any of these conditions apply to you, please consult your doctor before getting in a tank. We’ve prepared a fact sheet about floating to help health care providers make decisions: Talking about floating with your doctor.
If you cannot raise your arms over your head or if you have significant mobility difficulties, please make sure you are scheduled in Summer Sky rooms 2 or 3. The Escape Pods in rooms 1 and 4 require you to push open an angled overhead door to get out, and we don’t want you getting stuck.
Can children float?
In many cases, yes, it’s fine for children to float. Are they good at following directions, and are they old enough to keep from touching their face? The most important thing is to make sure that they personally really want to, and that they understand that they are allowed to get out of their float whenever they like. We do not encourage reluctant kids to float.
We will allow clients aged fourteen years and up to float on their own recognizance.
Children aged nine years and up are allowed to float if a guardian is present in the center and prepared to attend to the child if they come out of their session early.
What if I do it wrong?
There is no wrong. You’re alone in a private room and no one can judge you. Just do what’s comfortable and let your body relax.
Is it claustrophobic?
Many people have worries of one kind or another, but it’s very rarely a problem. For one, the tank is actually much bigger on the inside than you might think, and you can sit up and move around easily. If you want, you can also leave the door cracked or wide open with a light on — some people find that helpful. The key to remember is you’re in total control of the experience.
Will I trip balls?
Maybe a little. Probably not your first time, but it’s possible.
Don’t expect anything crazy. You might see weird colors. Sometimes people hear different tones and muffled voices, or have the sense that their body is rotating or sliding sideways. You might have a distortion in your sense of passing time, or feel like you’re watching yourself like in a movie. It can be pretty cool.
What if it upsets me?
You can open the tank door and turn on the light at any time, no harm no foul. But truly, for most people, knowing that you’re completely in charge of your own experience is all the reassurance you need to have a good time.
Can I float on drugs?
No. Please understand that we cannot and will not allow the illegal use of any substances in our facility. We also cannot allow smoking indoors whether it’s legal or not. We will turn away any clients who are impaired or intoxicated. We will ban anyone who disrespects our business or the comfort of other clients.
What do you do with my email address?
We hate spam too, and we will treat any contact information you share with us as a matter of trust and honor. We need your contact information in order to communicate with you about appointments you make, and occasionally about payment issues or other problems. If you give us permission we will send you our newsletter and maybe once or twice a year a special offer, nothing more.
Your support has made our business possible, and it’s very important to us to respect that.