I have been lucky enough to visit at least 15 float centres. I haven’t floated at all of them, but most of them. I have been in 10 different types/models of float tanks. Now that centres are popping up all over the place I’ve taken full advantage of visiting float centres everywhere I go. At my last count, there were 32 float centres in BC, with many more across Canada, the United States, and globally. From Hong Kong to New Zealand. Float tanks are back baby!
When I go to a new float centre there are plenty of things I am drawn to. The location is the first thing I notice about a float centre. Each centre is very unique (franchises are similar, but each store will adapt their own identity). I’ve been to float centres in strip malls, stand alone buildings, on a second story, character homes. Probably most memorable location is Still Life Massage and Float in Bellingham, WA; they are located right on the marina and it’s intensely beautiful.
I love seeing the various retail items available for sale. It's mostly hippie shit, salt lamps, tea, float books, handmade jewellry or soaps are all popular retail items. Leaf Cross Health in Nelson is a float centre/cannabis dispensary (of course it’s in Nelson, right? 😉).
Sometimes floating is paired with other modalities. It’s always fascinating to see what other centre’s choose to incorporate. Massage, acupuncture, yoga commonly pair with float tanks. In Invermere, Do Nothing Floatation is a float centre / juice bar! WHAAAT???
Once I’m in the space, cleanliness is something that I notice, but I’ve never been to a float centre that appeared unkept. I love when float centres have living plants. I notice the layout of the building and how isolated the float rooms are. Staff at float centres are always super chill excellent people – I wonder how they got that way?
Once in the float room I want to know where all the buttons are, and what they do. Some tanks have lights, some don’t. Some tanks have a button for music, and some have an intercom. At The Float Shoppe in Portland they have a tank called Floatarium, and it has a speed bump? I have no idea what it's purpose is, but it’s sure unique. You float on the surface, so you don’t notice the speed bump while you’re floating, but it's pretty cool.
Float Space in Kelowna offers 4 different float vessel’s which is great for dipping your toes into different styles of tanks. I’ve floated in all of them, many times over. It’s interesting to observe how my preferences change over time. Right now, I’m really digging their Oasis tank!
When I go for a float I have a ‘float bag’ that I take with all my essentials. Shampoo/conditioner, soap, ear plugs, and a comb. Most float centres offer these items, but I like to be prepared. I really like when the showers have a hook for me to hang my loofah on. Hooks in general are a very good thing to have in the float room.
Once I’m in the tank almost every experience is the same (in the physical sense). If there is light or sound pollution, or changes in temperature I’ll notice those things, but my mood and pre-float preparation have a huge impact on my sensitivity to those factors too.
After the float I peruse the post float lounge. Most centres offer tea, literature, and community float journals. I like reading testimonials and hearing other people’s experiences in their own words. I love the pictures and doodles that people feel compelled to draw post float.
These are all the things I notice as a customer. As a future float centre owner, I also geek-out over the construction materials, linen, water sanitation procedures, scheduling and printed materials – but I won’t bore you with that stuff.
Every float centre is a reflection of it’s owner and the people that run it, including the name. My favourite name belongs to the Home of Om in Calgary. Likewise, Modern Gravity in Edmonton is owned by two super cool astronauts that leave an impression.
I look forward to floating in as many centres as possible and appreciating all the hard work that goes into each one. Next time you visit your local float centre take a moment to appreciate the small touches. Everything in that centre has been planned and plotted specifically for your enjoyment and ease of use.