Putting Some Miles On the Meter
We’ve got two more stops in Colorado Springs before heading west. It’s a town known for its military base and long history of weapons testing. With such a large military presence, it comes as no surprise that the float center owners here are veterans, themselves.
After that, we shoot across to Salt Lake City. Utah is filled with gorgeous sights, from breathtaking lakes to stunning painted hills. With an international landmark famous for its effects on buoyancy, Salt Lake City should be pretty familiar with the concept of floating. With five different float centers, and the manufacturer of the Zen Tent out there, there could be some cause and effect.
After that, we head up into Idaho and Montana to close out the Central United States portion of our Tour. We’ll follow the Rocky Mountains north, taking in the scenery along the way.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Number of float centers: 2
Known for: A hub of military bases, this place is home to lots of currently serving and past serving military personnel.
Shoot for the Moon
Morgan heard of floating for stress relief from some other servicemen while serving in the Air Force. He left after 8 years of service, but the idea of floating stayed in the back of his mind. Eventually, he took his wife Ana-Alycia to Denver for a “float date”. They knew they had found something special as soon as they stepped out of the tanks, awash in their post-float glow.
That same year, they came out to the Float Conference and were absolutely blown away by how friendly and open the community was – it was unlike anything they had ever seen before. They quickly decided they needed more of this in their life. While it’s taken some time, they have finally opened the doors of Luna Float Spa.
Morgan and Ana-Alycia decided on the Dream Pods for their space. The design and the name make them a perfect fit for their center – the two of them are all about thematic synchronicity (they even run a Full Moon package including floats, infrared sauna, and massage).
Luna opened right around the same time as the other float center in town, R.E.S.T., but they weren’t worried about competition. Quite the opposite: they were excited about having a float neighbor to help educate the community and help spread awareness. We were even tasked with delivering hydrogen peroxide to R.E.S.T. to pay them back for an emergency cup while they were waiting on an order (we were eager to perform more Float Favors, so it worked out perfectly).
Jason and Kevin have both served 14 years in the military, and this greatly influenced their decision to open R.E.S.T. Float Solutions. In 2012, Jason was critically wounded, losing his left leg below the knee. After his injury, he became dependent on prescription medications for pain management. He didn’t appreciate being on pain pills and sought a way to eliminate them from his treatment through meditation and yoga, which eventually led him to floating. It was the only thing that helped him effectively manage the pain without medication. That kind of injury can be very traumatic, and he was shocked at how well he was able to manage his PTSD symptoms after floating as well. Right away, he knew that other veterans would get a lot out of floatation.
Kevin has his own motivations for wanting to open a float center. He teaches Crossfit and believes strongly in being able to push yourself to your limit. Floating has been an acutely useful tool for him to do so; he’s noticed it has helped drastically reduce his own recovery time. He’s been a strong proponent of alternative therapies like yoga and acupuncture for a long time but, for him, there’s no comparison to floating. It’s rare, in his opinion, to find a therapy that’s equally effective at healing both the body and the mind.
The two of them spared no expense putting together their center. It houses 3 float tanks, including the only currently-operational Bright Float Tank. They have the space and desire to build out up to 7 tanks, but they’re letting their customer base grow organically before expanding further. Save & Exit
Land of the Oldest Float Tank in America
Salt Lake City, Utah
Population: ~1.14 million in the surrounding area
Number of float centers: 5
Known for: The largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere, the Holy Land of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The Answer is Crystal Clear
Crystal Waters opened in January of this year by Jim and his wife Hui. In that short time, they’ve seen how powerful the healing effects of floatation can be. Early on, one of their regulars – a woman in chronic pain – had an amazing transformation while floating at their place. She was bedridden and, even on medication, couldn’t do so much as stand longer than a few minutes. She floated four times within a week and saw drastic improvements in her mobility and overall quality of life. It’s been several months now, and she’s able to do things – even simple things – that were previously unthinkable, like spend most of her days on her feet without any discomfort.
Jim rents out a room of his center to another of his regulars, Craig Salazar – The Spiritual Intuitive, who offers spiritual guidance in half hour to hour long sessions. He also uses the space to host the Energy is Love podcast – exploring energy healing, spirituality, and floating. While we were there, Craig took the opportunity to speak with Graham and Ashkahn on his podcast. You can hear their whole conversation here.
i-Float, You Float, We All Float for Floaty Floats!
i-Float was started up by Keith and his wife just two years ago. While their center is only a couple of years old, they were introduced to floating 27 years ago while on a meditative journey in the Australian Outback. Seeking spiritual enlightenment, they were directed into a float tank to experience a deeper level of their meditations. The tank wasn’t like the sleek fiberglass designs we see in centers today. It was, essentially, a wooden box with a plastic liner that barely held the high concentration of salt water inside. The rough and tumble design didn’t bother them, though. They loved it so much, they floated regularly for years afterwards – even floating through their first pregnancy.
Sadly, they fell out of practice with floating when they moved back to the States and settled down to raise a family. There just wasn’t anywhere nearby with a tank, and they resigned those floaty memories to a time in their lives where they had the freedoms of uncertainty and introspection. As happens, life went on and Keith kind of forgot about floating until he saw it again on the news.
Finding out that a new generation of people were discovering floating inspired Keith. He quit his day job and opened i-Float. He really loves getting the chance to tell the Joe Rogan fans about the old days of floating. Helping the next wave of people find floating has brought new meaning to his life, and he’s loving every minute of it.
The ‘OG’ of Floating
This single-tank float center is unique on our trip as the only naturally-occurring float tank on the Tour. It’s formed by three tributaries: the Jordan, Weber, and Bear rivers. 17,000 years ago it was part of Lake Bonneville before it was released into the Red Rock Basin during the Bonneville flood. What was left was a body of water with an extremely high percentage of salt. The really cool thing is that since its only outlet is evaporation, it will only increase in salinity as the years go on.
The vast majority of the lake is actually so shallow that you can walk across it. Most floaters prefer to float in the northern Gunnison Bay, as the salt concentration is much higher than in other parts, and it’s deep enough to not get snagged on the shore.
The open air design of this tank really strays from the concept of sensory deprivation, and floating during the day can detract from the sense of isolation typically associated with floating, especially since you can see tourists and other floaters from time to time during peak hours.
That’s not to say that visiting isn’t worth it. It is easily the most majestic float center we have ever seen, and while we consider ourselves “float purists”, getting to bob along in the water and look at the mountains in the horizon is a truly magical experience.
Aside from the growth experienced by precipitation, it currently has no plans to expand. Given that they can float literally hundreds of floaters at the same time, it’s never really reached max capacity.
A very special thank you to The Great Salt Lake. As the eighth largest terminal lake in the world, we’re sure that it’s incredibly busy with its many duties. We really appreciate the kindness and patience it showed us.
My Own Private Float Tank…
Idaho Falls, ID
Number of float centers: 1
Known for: The site of the first useful nuclear generated electricity as well as the site of the only fatal nuclear related incident in the U.S.
Float Fix is located inside a larger spa, The 3 Rivers Health Center. David Hay is a massage therapist and, when he first found out about floating, he had to drive three hours down to Salt Lake City just to try it. After he did, he was resolved to start his own place. He now rents a room out of 3 Rivers for his custom built float tank.
When we say “custom”, we really mean it. David is the MacGyver of float tanks. The base is a salvaged hot tub bed covered by paneling from a greenhouse to help regulate the humidity and temperature. He even built his own induction heating system below his float room that constantly heats the concrete under his fiberglass tank, before evenly dispersing to the tank itself.
It’s great getting to see someone so passionate share floating with an entire community that, otherwise, probably wouldn’t get to experience it. As he gains more clients, he plans to open his own center. With the ingenuity he’s already displayed in putting this together, whatever he comes up with should be really exciting.
A Picturesque Preview of Floating in Missoula
Number of float centers: 0 (soon to be 2)
Known for: Home of the University of Montana, former home to large timber industry
Matt Gangloff is a veteran that served in the military for years after having his tours of duty extended through stop-loss. Eventually, he left and came to Missoula to attend school at the University of Montana. He chose this part of the country almost entirely at random – the only pre-requisite for him was to travel somewhere new.
Years of military service left Matt with PTSD, and he turned to floating to help. The closest center was 4 hours away in Whitefish, so he’d regularly make trips that would take the entire weekend. As you can imagine, doing this every week became cost prohibitive quickly.
He noticed rapid improvement to his mental well-being and the thought of opening his own center became very appealing. At around the same time, he was offered a significant promotion at his IT consulting job. Instead of taking it, he left to start Enlyten. He’s currently scheduled to open August 26th in a beautiful old historic building in downtown Missoula.
Even before opening, he’s generating a lot of buzz with all the foot traffic. From time to time, he’ll even overhear snippets of conversation from people walking by .“Oh yeah! That’s that sensory deprivation place… I think they put like 90 pounds of salt in the water or something.” Small towns – people talk.
Honorable Mention: ISO Float Center
Number of tanks: 2
Years in operation: 2
Other services: Just Floating
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet with the guys at ISO Float. We came on their off day and they couldn’t get away to see us. It’s another casualty of Float Tour, we were only able to give them a few hours notice and they couldn’t shift things around to come meet us in that short amount of time.
A very big thank you for the work you guys do. Your reputation absolutely preceded you. While we were on the road, we heard multiple stories from some of your past floaters praising your center. Thanks for being awesome! We’re sorry we missed you!
The Zen Float Company makes the Zen Tent, one of the only floatation devices intended exclusively for residential use. Shane Stott was kind enough to give us a tour of his new warehouse while we were in town.
Developing a residential market has challenges that other manufacturers don’t have to worry about. Regular consumers don’t tend to research as much when purchasing a float tank as those starting up a business, and generally look to the manufacturer for all maintenance and upkeep. As a result, Zen Tent is often the sole provider for epsom salt, maintenance supplies, and replacement parts for its customers – especially since they can’t afford to purchase items in bulk like a float center could.
Shane was kind enough to let us park the Ol’ Minister Winchester in his driveway for the night. Thank you for all the hospitality (especially the delicious pulled pork)!
Issue # 23 is coming…
That’s it for the Rocky Mountains. From Montana, we cross the border again and head back into Canada. When we get back stateside, it’ll be on the Pacific Northwest, an area that we’re, admittedly, pretty familiar with. It’s been fantastic getting to see how other parts of the country view floating and incorporate it into their everyday lives.
Next is Alberta. The majority of the population resides in either Hamilton or Calgary, both of which have a substantial number of float centers compared to the general population. It’s a rapidly growing community, likely tied into the fact that Alberta is Canada’s most prosperous Province. Find out more next time on Float Tour!
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