With far more than 100 hours of sensory deprivation logged in float centres around the world, floating (aka floatation therapy) is by far the most impactful practice I've added to my life.
So much so that in 2019, I recommitted to a weekly float practice for the entire year. This was the longest streak and most consistent floating practice that I've done to date and the results have been incredible!
It's also become the main focus of my work under More Floats, where I partner with premium float centers around the world to manage all of their marketing.
But let me go back to the beginning first... ⏰
I used to believe that I needed to always find a way to do more. Starting and trying to manage two businesses, an art practice and career, a social life, along with affording life in one of the most expensive cities (Vancouver). Like many, I was searching for the life hacks that helped me do, achieve, be — more.
I had to always be on.
I was constantly pushing past a harsh amount of stress and anxiety.
I couldn't fathom leaving my computer or phone or turning it off for an hour because I might miss an important message that can't be missed.
This was the mindset I was coming into my first floats with, and looking back, I know I desperately needed this tool and the insights it would help me unlock.
What is floating? 💧
It is a wellness tool born out of research that involves a tank, pod or cabin that's full of water supersaturated with epsom salt so that you float effortlessly without any pressures on your body. The environment is also engineered to be light and soundproof to eliminate as much sensory input as possible (hence, sensory deprivation). It feels very expansive and through early peer-reviewed studies and testimonials from avid floaters it is starting to show amazing results for many issues including depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, sports and injury recovery and so much more. You can learn more about the studies here.
How did I get so involved with floating early on? 🤔
It all started back in 2012 while I was in college with a friend who listened to Joe Rogan (one of floating's biggest advocates), pulling us towards the nearest available option at the time — a collective hippy house in Calgary and basement float tank (now professional establishments are much more widely available).
I've spoken quite openly about how that first float just so happened to be extra powerful by helping me to overcome a past experience of nearly drowning.
Since that time, professional spas and centers dedicated to float therapy have opened up across the US, Canada and all around the world. I've had the pleasure of trying out many of them, including in Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, and Chiang Mai, Thailand.
🙌 Over the years, floating has helped me to:
- massively lower my stress and anxiety levels to a new lower baseline
- prepare for and enter an intense flow state during my TEDx talk
- recharge during (and prevent any further) burnout
- completely resolve constant lower back pain I dealt with for years
- slowly repair and reduce the impact of past sports injuries
- boost my energy and help sustain it at a higher level
- develop a healthier relationship with my phone and digital life
- let go of past trauma of near drowning (as mentioned above)
- manage the workload of building and managing multiple businesses
- helped teach me how to relax deeply, let go and develop better patience
My mind began to open to the possibility that investing in myself in this way, my mental and physical health, could reap unbelievable benefits that far outweigh the cost (float sessions usually range between $40-100+ depending on the frequency and package or membership options available).
I began to see how the benefits compounded as I continued a regular float practice for the first time that made every moment of my days be filled with less stress, anxiety and so much more calm and flow than ever before.
Regardless of what happened that week, I now had a magic reset button that allowed me to get back to my best state and start fresh.
The more I committed to floating on a regular basis (or as an addition when I desperately needed the extra self care) the more I began to see the correlation with how I performed in my businesses, how I showed up in my relationships, and even my overall mindset and enjoyment of life.
The notion that I needed to push harder during the times when I was overwhelmed and struggling to solve a problem vanished in the warm, dark waters of the float tank. The necessity to be 'always on' switched to more of a conscious connection. Now, when I get to one of those states, I know the solution is to stop, pause and reset for 60 minutes (especially when I trick myself into thinking I don't have the time for it).
As the Zen proverb goes:
“If you don’t have time to meditate for an hour everyday, you should meditate for two hours.”
The same goes for floating, as it's also shown to help make meditation easier allowing you to reach deeper levels as experienced meditators would. If you feel like you're stressed and overwhelmed and don't have the time, it needs to be prioritized even more and the effects will likely be greater!
Journalling and writing about my experiences with floating have helped to keep it top of mind in how it has helped me so much, along with seeing thousands of stories around the world of the powerful changes it's made for others through my work marketing for float centers with More Floats.
I truly believe that floating is one of the major keys that has helped me to completely transform my work, my income and my life over the last 8 years.
My current floating practice 👏
Currently, I maintain a consistent weekly float practice at my local center on weekend mornings to help relax and reset for the next week.
If there's something specific like a big event, influx of extra work, particularly tough workout or an injury I need to recover from, I will add in extra sessions when needed, however weekly floats seem to be a great frequency to get the full, compounding benefits and maintain the new baselines in my mood, energy and life.
The most I've floated at one time was 15 days straight, which showed me how powerful it can be to alleviate old injuries (for me it was both of my ankles that I had rolled multiple times in volleyball and exacerbated in hockey).
Recommendations for your own float practice:
- Almost every float center you go to will recommend you try at least 3 sessions and there's good reason for it (based on studies that have been done) that show it takes about that many sessions to get used to the environment so you can start to fully relax and get all the benefits. I strongly recommend you try all 3 of your first sessions within about 30 - 45 days.
- 1 - 2 floats every month seem to be the minimum to gain and maintain the compounding benefits that a regular float practice can offer.
- Avoid any and all caffeine before your float session as you'll feel the effects of it amplified within the tank (likely notice your heart rate increased) and it will make it much harder to fully let go and relax. To make this easier, I usually float during the first session in the morning.
- Focus on your breath. Try not to worry too much about what passes by in your mind or get caught up thinking about the 'right' way to do it and simply do deep breathing while you're floating. It will help you let go and relax deeper.
- Stretch before, during (near the end of your session), and after your floats as you'll be able to greatly loosen your muscles and reduce tension even more
- Give yourself a mini massage or push on pressure points to help relieve more tension — I often focus on my neck and jaw (again, focus on this at the end of your session to avoid the water cooling off too much from your movements and be sure to avoid getting the salt water in your eyes - it stingssss!)
- Try different positions throughout your float sessions to see what works best for you. I usually start with my arms up beside my head for the first part of the session and then switch to bring them down by the side of my body whenever feels right (again be sure not to bring them above your head to avoid getting salt water in your eyes).
- If you're struggling with a certain decision or problem, journal about it right before your float session and use the time to focus on it as the float tank can help with problem solving and eliminating all distractions, along with putting your mind into different wavelengths that help with focus and creativity.
If you haven't tried it before, or have yet to finish your first 3 floats, I highly recommend you take the time and give it a try.
My story here is one of thousands that utilize a regular floating practice that include some of the highest performers across sports, business and the arts.
Floating, in my eyes, is the perfect answer to our distracted, always on culture that still glorifies burnout and overworking. It can be a blessing just to do nothing for an hour and reset to get back to your best self.