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Floating - It's a Thing

Updated on May 5, 2019
Melody Dunithan profile image

Melody likes natural alternative health choices. Follow as I explore possibilities that you may not have heard of before.


So... who knew floating was a thing? My friend has been floating now for a few months. She goes once or twice a month and when I went to visit this time, she took me over to try it. It was an interesting experience, but one that I would definitely do again.

The Pod

Floating Pod
Floating Pod | Source

What is floating?

First of all... What is floating? Since I had not heard of this before talking to my friend a few months ago, I was totally clueless.

You are literally floating in warm, heavily salted water for 60 to 90 minutes. The 900 pounds of Epsom salt that is dissolved in the water prevents you from sinking. I imagine it would be like floating in the Dead Sea where it is impossible to sink.
That's kinda cool in my book.

Physical and Emotional

People float to relieve stress, recover from injuries, fight addiction, eliminate chronic pain, and much more.

Mental and Spiritual

Everything you experience while floating comes from within yourself. It's the perfect time to reflect on your life.

Creativity and Learning

Artists, students, professionals, and athletes alike use floating as a tool to enhance creativity and improve concentration.

— Float Madison Floatation Center Brochure

Why I Went

My friend suggested it because I had been having a lot of back issues this week. My lower back and hip cause me pain on a regular basis, sometimes worse that others. I think the previous week and then the long drive along with the bad weather while driving this trip just caused more issues than normal.

My friend called ahead to schedule our appointments and notified me the next morning that we were doing this. (Gotta love her! :) Bless her heart... she scheduled a pod for herself and a tank for me.

The Tank

Floatation Tank
Floatation Tank | Source

Float Madison Floatation Center

The facility we went to was Float Madison in Wisconsin. My daughter went with us and was comfortable in their waiting area while we were occupied.

We each had a 60 minute appointment (there are also 90 minute appointments). We needed to be there 15 minutes early so we had time to shower before (and for a brief orientation on your first visit) and they allow 15 minutes afterwards for showering and dressing.

The Madison facility is located at 312 E. Wilson St. in downtown Madison. They have free parking behind their facility.

I was impressed with Float Madison but I am in no way being compensated by them for my review. These are my own impressions and opinions. I did ask to take some photos which they graciously allowed. They can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Float Madison, 312 E. Wilson St., Madison, WisconsinWaiting AreaWaiting Area
Float Madison, 312 E. Wilson St., Madison, Wisconsin
Float Madison, 312 E. Wilson St., Madison, Wisconsin | Source
Waiting Area
Waiting Area | Source
Waiting Area
Waiting Area | Source

Claustrophobia and Floating

One of my biggest reservations was the totally enclosed container. I can't say I'm claustrophobic, BUT... I do have a tendency toward that. Completely enclosed made me uncomfortable with just the idea and I had not even seen them in person to know the size and what they were all about.

My friend has no problem with the pod and complete ... total ... darkness. That thought was disconcerting to me.

What I learned was the pod was not the only option for one thing. I had a walk-in tank with essentially all the same conditions. It was no problem at all in my mind for me to go inside the tank.

You also have complete control of your experience whether you are in the tank or a pod.

Lights on or off... your choice.

Pod open or closed... your choice.

The ability to get in or out whenever you want/need to... your choice.

They even had music you could play if you were in the pods (that feature was not yet available in the tanks) so you did not need to lay there in complete silence... your choice.

Preparations to Floating

So I went with cautious optimism. I totally trust my friend's opinion so I wasn't expecting something negative. But...I couldn't entirely wrap my head around the positive, either. It was much like my introduction to essential oils... by the same friend! LOL

The owner, Greg Griffin, gave me an introduction to the process and answered any questions I had before leaving me alone. They provided a pair of earplugs (important) to put in BEFORE taking your shower. Dry ears will provide a better seal so the salt water doesn't get inside your ear canals.

Then take a shower to remove any oils and lotions before getting into the water. When your float is complete, the water is cycled three times after your float and filtered and sanitized before the next client can use it. Not to mention that the amount of salt in the water prevents any bacterial growth.

You can be assured the water is clean and safe to use.

From there it's time to enter your tank/pod to begin your float.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Greg Griffin, Owner of Float Madison (Magazine cover)They provided the needed ear plugs (not pictured) as well as a makeup remover and shelves to put your personal belongings on.Private room provided with shower and tank or pod.Head rest
Greg Griffin, Owner of Float Madison (Magazine cover)
Greg Griffin, Owner of Float Madison (Magazine cover) | Source
They provided the needed ear plugs (not pictured) as well as a makeup remover and shelves to put your personal belongings on.
They provided the needed ear plugs (not pictured) as well as a makeup remover and shelves to put your personal belongings on. | Source
Private room provided with shower and tank or pod.
Private room provided with shower and tank or pod. | Source
Head rest
Head rest | Source

My Experience

When I entered the tank there was music playing that lasted a few minutes and then came on again when the hour was over.

The tank was well lit and I had 2 light controls - one for the lights in the tank and one for some lights in the ceiling which looked like stars.

I started with the lights on for awhile. Then I turned out the tank lights and left the "stars" on. It was very relaxing.

There's really nothing to think about in a tank while you're floating with no music playing. You're all alone with your own thoughts. I can see how this would have been a great time to think things through if there were stressful situations in your life or decisions you needed to make. We don't find too many opportunities to find complete quiet with only our own thoughts to keep us company. I believe I would enjoy more floats just for that benefit.

I did use the headrest the whole time. It was strictly an insecurity issue, I'm sure. It was comfortable and gave me that extra measure of assurance that my head would not go underwater. When I first started, I realized at one point that I was still trying to float. I made a conscious effort to relax and legs, my arms, and my head and neck. The headrest helped that process.

I turned off the "stars" after awhile and floated in total darkness. Total is an understatement. I'm not sure I've ever been in such complete blackness. But floating there was not a problem at all. I actually dozed off for a few minutes, I think.

At one point I felt the need for lights again. That tendency toward claustrophobia rearing it's head. I turned on all the lights and floated for a bit before going back to the "stars".

During the hour, I could feel the tension leaving and the muscles relaxing. It's an experience I don't really have anything else to compare to.

Tank Lights

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tank with interior lights on"Stars"Tank
Tank with interior lights on
Tank with interior lights on | Source
"Stars" | Source
Tank | Source

Results and Recommendation

My recommendation... Try it for sure.

My back and hip did not hurt at ALL after I got out. It did come back by evening, but even then it was much diminished.

I wonder what the result would be after several times. I'm definitely interested in checking out a local floating facility now that I'm home.

For those of you in the Madison, Wisconsin area, I completely recommend Float Madison. Their prices were reasonable, the facility was clean and comfortable, and the owner was friendly and informative.

Leave me a comment if you've tried floating before and what your experience was.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Melody Dunithan


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