Float Seattle is the highest-rated float center in Seattle and after my first visit, I can see why! While I have floating experience under my belt already, I was very excited to try them out at their Greenlake location with my gal pal and fellow blogger, Melody Todd of Honest Chatter and photographer, Demri Rayanne of Demri Rayanne Photography.
I admittedly was a bit apprehensive at first to try floating in one of their enclosed tanks in complete darkness. As a person who is a bit claustrophobic, I wondered how I would fare in their tank. My first float experience had been in a pool in a dark room, so this was going to be something new for me!
Like any float experience, if you are a newbie, let me remind you a few things not to do prior and what to bring with you!. It’s best not shave prior to your float, just imagine that nice salt water settling into any nicks or cuts you might have! Ouch! And also, don’t forget to bring a change of clothes, and if you have long hair like me, bring a comb to help untangle your hair after your float (trust me, salt and long hair don’t mix, even if you have it in a bun while floating!).
Float Seattle has two locations right now, one in Greenlake and one in Bellevue. One day I would love to visit the Bellevue location, but Greenlake is perfect because, well – its in Greenlake. I would recommend booking a float with your girlfriends and then afterwards, grab some brunch somewhere! It’s the perfect location for a girls day out. While finding street parking was nearly impossible on a beautiful Saturday morning, I parked in the PCC parking garage and walked over. It just happened to be one of those beautiful spring days in the Seattle area, so everyone was out and about.
Walking into Float Seattle will make you feel at ease immediately. The front lobby area is very welcoming and cozy. The waiting area has some comfy chairs and your choice of water or tea to indulge in before or after your float session.
The Float Seattle staff will explain everything you may experience and I suggest you pay attention to the little things they mention! Definitely use the ear plugs so you don’t get the salt water in your ears, don’t take a hot shower prior to getting into the water (because then the body temperature water will feel cold when you get in), it is more comfortable to float with your arms up near your head versus pointed down towards your feet, and don’t move around a lot once you get in the water as you will start feeling cold.
My cozy room was softly lit with a shower and a large tank with a door. I hopped in the shower prior getting into the tank (to wash off any lotions and dirt I may have had on my body) and put my hair in a bun. Getting salt in your eye definitely burns (which happened to me the first time I floated when I was rinsing off after my float – this time it happened during my float because of something stupid I did), and for those with long hair, if your hair isn’t pulled back in the pool, sometimes it can get on your face and splash salt into your eyes. I also recommend using the Floatease Halo to rest your head on while floating, which allows the neck to completely relax and reduce neck pain while floating.
The tank is filled with 1000 lbs of Epsom salt dissolved in about 250 gallons of purified water, all heated to a “skin-receptor neutral” 93.5-94 degrees. Once you have your ear plugs in, step into the tank, lay down and close the hatch! Then you have 60 minutes to be with your own thoughts and just relax.
An hour of floating in complete darkness and silence in a tank when you have some claustrophobia issues – how does one describe that? I have many analogies – is this what its like for a baby in a womb? Is this similar to what astronauts feel floating in space? I imagined myself laying in the open ocean and staring into the sky. I often drifted to the side walls of the tank and didn’t even know it until I gently tapped the walls. I am 5’8 inches tall and I could almost stretch out all the way from toes to fingers. I honestly didn’t feel confined. I kept my arms above my head most of the time, as it’s more comfortable for my shoulders to do that. Even though I felt like my mind was not shutting off, I know I dozed off a few times because I startled myself awake.
I spent some time focused on my breathing and then all of a sudden my mind would drift and I actually forgot I was floating (that was weird!). It was really cool (for me, maybe not for others) to feel the salt that was on my exposed skin start to harden. It made my skin feel tight, but then I would just put that exposed part under the water again for a brief moment.
The point of floating is to be still and relax. And it is indeed dark in the tank, whether closing your eyes or opening them, all you see is darkness. There was NO light whatsoever. I feel like my description of what floating felt like is jumping all over the place, but that’s about how it felt! Your mind drifts, you doze off, you focus on something and then forget, it’s very surreal. While I wasn’t worried about somehow flipping over and drowning, I did worry a little bit about not waking up if I had fallen asleep when my time was up. That was not the case as the music slowly drifted on and it definitely woke me up from whatever state I was in! That hour went by so fast!!! I slowly made my way out of the pool (be careful not to slip as the salt water can make things a little slick!) and to the shower. And don’t worry, the tanks are cleaned thoroughly and filtered in between every float session.
When I first floated, the shower is where I got salt in my eyes! I started washing my hair and I think the salt from my hair streamed down my face and into my eyes. I was also wearing contacts and things stung and were blurry for a good minute or so! It eventually went away and I was good to go again, but just be aware! This time around, I had put my hands up to grasp the handle of the tank just because I apparently felt like doing that while I was floating, and sure enough, water dripped from my hands onto my face and into my eyes. Not one of my smarter ideas. But this time, I wasn’t wearing contacts so the sting wasn’t as terrible! Just lessons learned that I am passing onto you!
All in all, I absolutely loved my Float Seattle experience. If you have any interest in trying out sensory deprivation, Float Seattle is the best place to start. Between the location, the staff and the experience itself, you will come away as I did, relaxed and just happy. I highly recommend checking out Float Seattle for yourself! Give yourself 2-3 float sessions before you make a conclusion about floating as a therapy. It really does take a few sessions to get over the novelty aspects of the experience and start to truly discover how floating can impact your own life. Check out the prices and packages here.
Float Seattle – Greenlake
408 NE 70th St
Seattle WA 98115
Float Seattle – Bellevue
11101 NE 12th St
Bellevue WA 98004
Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a comped float for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Lesley is the founder and editor of What’s Up NW. Prior to creating WhatsUpNW.com, she was the Seattle city editor for AskMissA.com. For both publications, Lesley has covered fashion shows, openings, and local charity events. She has written numerous articles shining the light on local businesses, encouraging readers to always shop local.