Floating in the Bay Area
Our travels brought the weary Minnie Winnie (our Winnebago, who we call the Minister Winchester for long), to beautiful San Francisco. The culture of floating is much more embedded in this city than many others.
There are nearly a dozen centers in the Bay Area, each one with its own personality and its own path to success. It certainly helps that Steph Curry uses a float center in San Francisco, even making a video endorsement of floating at the Reboot Float Spa which has generated a huge amount of public exposure for the local and even international industry.
In fact, let’s start there.
Stephen Curry’s Favorite Place…
Number of Tanks: 4
Years in Operation: 1
Tactical takeaways: The right press and celebrity endorsement can pack, not only your schedule, but those of every center in your city
Other Services: Just Floating
The Reboot Float Spa located in the heart of downtown San Francisco is a fantastic float center with a very modern feel. While it doesn’t look like much from the outside, the inside is surprisingly spacious. They have 4 separate rooms, 3 equipped with I-sopods and one Float Pod.
They have several iPads in the lobby to show first time floaters their orientation video and an impressively stocked tea bar for after the float. All of this, from the minimalistic white decor, to the sleek looking pods themselves, makes this center seem almost futuristic.
Mike Garrett worked very hard since 2014 to get this center open, and has now been successfully floating people for nearly a year, and with all the publicity that floating is getting, business has been dynamically evolving all around the city. It certainly helps that Steph Curry filmed his testimonial for ESPN in this center, attributing floating, in part at least, to his success.
A Few Blocks Away…
Number of Tanks: 2
Years in Operation: 4
Tactical takeaways: Catering to a specific demographic and tying in your services into each other can be beneficial to your business and your customers. Focus more on how things are alike than how they are different.
Other Services: Meditation, Massage, Floating, Acupuncture, Yoga
Just a few blocks away from Reboot is Zazen.
This float center has defined itself well. With a host of services including acupuncture, yoga, meditation, massage, and of course float tanks, they have strongly established themselves as a place to seek mindfulness, relaxation, and self-reflection.
Their shop is equipped with two Float Lab tanks since 2012. A great place that truly does have a zazen feel to it, you almost forget that you’re in the middle of downtown while you’re in there.
Onward to See a Friend…
It was a real privilege to get to meet with a good friend of Float On, and the float industry as a whole, while we were in San Francisco: Shoshana Liebner. Her business, Float Dreams, was officially established in 1997. but Shoshana has been active in the Float Industry ever since Samadhi was formed back in 1972. We had a chance to talk to her about all the excellent work that’s been done lately and how the industry is growing.
Shoshana is a board member of the Float Tank Association, which has worked to help promote floating and float research across the world since the 80’s. She has also been instrumental in securing funding for some of the most recent float research that will be coming out on magnesium absorption during floats (being conducted by Justin Feinstein’s lab at LIBR).
Shoshana, when we met her, reminisced about the Wild West frontier days of the float industry and how much it has changed. She sees a lot of similarities to the present day industry and the boom of the 80s, but is very optimistic about the current growth.
Specifically, she’s excited that there seem to be more people from all walks of life adopting floating, whether for its health benefits or meditative practices. When we talked with her, she spoke with a cautious optimism about the industry, and the desire for more infrastructure to be laid out to legitimize and secure the practice.
Across the Bay…
Number of Tanks: 4
Years in Operation: 4
Tactical takeaways: Don’t shy away from breaking from the mould. Individuality and professionalism coupled together can equate to success.
Other Services: Light therapy (coming soon)
Oakland Floats run by John Balquist (who was wearing a Golden State Warriors t-shirt when we met. Represent!), has been operating in the heart of Oakland for the past four years and has a unique steampunk theme throughout the center. They strike a very different feel than we typically see in a float center, making this center unique in an already unique field.
They have an impressive setup with two float tanks and two float rooms operating from morning until night (overnight floats are available by appointment). They are also looking to incorporate light therapy into their practice, something we’ve been seeing in more and more float centers.
The business, according to John, is a little more established than others in the area and on the verge of expanding, so we’re eager to see how much it’s grown the next time we visit.
Off to San Carlos…
Number of Tanks: 2
Years in Operation: This is their first year!
Tactical takeaways: Sometimes, the most important thing is to open up shop and get people floating. The rest will work itself out.
Other Services: (Pandora Star), Chi Machine, Sound therapy (singing bowls), and Massage
If you like nice, cozy atmospheres, then Come Float With Us in San Carlos could be the place for you. Adam Marchacos and Denise Saikowski are a couple of the friendliest people you’ll meet, and they love to talk about floating.
At Come Float With Us, they provide a large list of services for anyone interested in alternative wellness, including Chi alignment, Light and Sound therapy, singing bowls, as well as a whole host of aromatherapy and different retail materials available for purchase.
They opened in December and already they’re looking at potentially opening up another tank, demonstrating just how rapid the industry has been growing. They’re already helping a friend of theirs open another center in San Diego, which is a fantastic example of the culture we typically see in the float business: lending a helping hand to make sure that more people can float.
Ending Our Tour of the Bay…
Number of Tanks: 1 float tank (and one dry tank)
Years in Operation: 36
Tactical takeaways: What you share with people and how you live your life is ultimately up to you. Jai and Shanti are an inspiration to anyone who wants to live a life honestly without compromise.
Other Services: eXperience: The Game, massage, infrared sauna, sweat lodge, ionizing detox foot bath, sensory exaltation dry float tank.
If you’re interested in floating in the Santa Cruz Area, it’s worth it to drive just outside the city and meet Shanti and Jai Hudes up in Ben Lomand at the Be and Be Well Floatation Resort Bed and Breakfast! It’s everything you’d think to find at an overnight float center: a warm inviting house with world-shattering, mind-expanding, life-affirmingly excellent homemade chai tea (thank you Shanti!) as well as a sweat lodge and a super cool tree house in the front. They are incredibly eco-friendly with a strong focus on globally sustainable practices. As such, you’ll see several up-cycled elements to their home.
Shanti and Jai have been active in floating since the early years in the 70s, and offer a much different perspective than many of the other center owners who have started more recently. They see it not only as a therapeutic practice, but as a helpful tool to guide someone in their lifelong spiritual journey.
They have their own van for Burning Man, with a trailer that has a dry float tank in it, often described as “the most comfortable bed you’ll ever see.”
They offer many services beyond floating, including sensory exultation, infrared sauna, massage therapy, and life coaching through eXperience: The Game.
No doubt if you come to Be and Be Well, Jai will excitedly share eXperience the Game with you. It’s an interactive social and spiritual board game that he designed. The whole process is designed to enhance introspection and find things out about yourself and those you play with that you wouldn’t otherwise.
As a package, Be and Be Well is unlike anything you’re likely to find anywhere else, even if you are active in the float industry. We strongly encourage you to check it out.
More Coming Soon…
That wraps up our visit to the Bay. This is an area rich in float history, where many different cultures surrounding floating collide. It will likely always be an important city to the world of floating.
We’ve shared a few sample pics that we’ve taken so far, but we’re also shooting video during the Float Tour which will be released in the future. Stay tuned to Float Tank Solutions on Facebook, Twitter, and (now) Instagram for closer to real time updates of the tour.
We have also confirmed dates and cities for our traveling 2-Day Float Tour Apprenticeship and 1-Day Advanced Workshop. New York City is quickly approaching, if you’re interested in knowing more about those events, be sure to visit TheFloatTour.com.
Another issue in this series of Float Tour blogs is coming in a couple of days where we venture down to Southern California!
Los Angeles… Here we come!