Why Float Centers Need “Walkthroughs”
First time floaters typically need some instruction before they can get in the tank. A lot of things can go wrong if a client is not well informed before they attempt to float. In many cases, the first float is the most important for the customer. It might determine whether they ever float again, or whether they will choose to visit your shop ever again. If you want their first float to be perfect, you need to make sure they are properly prepared before they get in.
That’s why we always give our first timers a “walkthrough.”
Find Out How Much the Client Knows About Floating Already
When I check-in a possible first timer, I ask them if this is their first float. If they say no, I ask them if they have floated at our center or another center, and how long it has been since their last float.
If they have never been to our center before, or it they have only done one or a few floats at our center many years ago, I usually treat them just as I would a first timer. Don’t assume that a client knows all the necessary information to successfully float in your shop because they have floated somewhere else.
Some first timers might literally have no idea what floating is when they arrive, or they might have been given some misinformation somewhere. I usually try to figure out a little about how much they already know by asking how they heard about floating. Then if they have no idea what they are getting into they will usually say so.
Cover the Basics of Floating
If it turns out they don’t know anything then I cover the basics :
“This is your x-brand tank. It contains about 200 gallons of water and 800 pounds of epsom salt – enough so that you can float effortlessly. The water is about 11 inches deep and heated to 93.5 degrees which is your skin surface temperature, so you can barely feel the water against your skin and it makes it easy to lose track of where your body ends and the water begins. You float in total darkness and total silence, and this creates a sensation that is often described as “relaxing in outer space.” During the float, your breathing, heart rate, and even brain waves slow down, putting you in a peaceful, meditative state of mind on the verge of being asleep and awake.”
Describe the Showering, Entering, and Exiting the Tank
Next I take them step by step through the process from showering off to walking out the door:
“The first thing you want to do is shower thoroughly. We have soap, shampoo, and conditioner- if you want to use the conditioner, hold off until after the float (conditioners may contain oils that will gunk up the tank).
After you have showered, turn off the main light so no extra light can leak into the tank (there should be a dim outer light or internal tank light which will allow the customer to see enough to be able to climb in the tank.)
Watch your step as you enter the tank. Sit down, close the door or hatch. Turn off any internal lights when you’re ready for total darkness, and lay back and float on your back.
The most common posture is with your arms up like this ( I put my arms up in the air) but you can experiment with your hands by your side or clasped behind your neck or whatever other postures you can think up and go with whatever is the most comfortable for you.
Then you simply relax, and drift off to wherever your mind takes you.
After an hour and a half, we will fade in some music to let you know that the float is over.
Then you climb out of the tank and shower off and get dressed.”
Explain the Amenities such as Ear Plugs, Sandals, Petroleum Jelly
I then show them all of the float paraphernalia we have in each room.
Wax Ear Plugs:
“If you have an aversion to getting water in your ears, we have these wax ear plugs. You want to put them in dry so they stick well, so put them in before you shower if you choose to use them. Form a seal over your ear, as opposed to inserting into your canal. There are directions on the box. If you don’t have a problem with water getting in your ears, say when you go swimming or take a bath, then you probably won’t need the plugs.”
Water and Vineger Ear Drop Solution:
“If you don’t use the Ear Plugs, or if you accidently get water in your ears, use this ear drop solution after the float while you’re showering off. Its just half white vinegar and half water, it helps get the salt out of your ears. Otherwise the salt can dry in your ear and get a little crusty. You can rinse it out later but it’s kind of annoying. So just a good squirt or two of this stuff in each ear ought to take care of it.”
Petroleum Jelly Packets:
If you have any cuts or scrapes, you can spread a little bit of petroleum jelly over the surface of them to keep them from stinging when you enter the water. If its just a little cut, it will probably only sting for a minute or two and then the sting will go away. Also, the high salt content makes the water a good antiseptic.
“Here are some cotton swabs.”
Hand and Body Lotion:
“There is some hand and body lotion.”
Floating Pool Noodle:
“This is a Floating Pool noodle. You can use it for extra head or neck support. It is most popular with people who have a back or neck problem and need the extra support. Sometimes people feel some tension in their back or neck the first time. Pre-existing tension can sometimes flare up as your spine is extending in the water. This often goes away after around 20 minutes depending on how much tension there is, and then it often never comes back. I’d recommend trying the float without the noodle, and using it if you feel like you need to after floating for a while. You can leave it right outside your door, and also chuck it out if you don’t want it anymore.”
Sandals and Robe:
“We have sandals and a robe if you need to shower off and go use the restroom at any time during the float, or if you just want to get some fresh air.”
The Last Few Tips, on Salt in the Eyes and Face and other Dangers
I then say:
“Okay, here are my last few tips:
Turn off or silence your cell phone.
Dry your face off real well before you get in because you’ll be able to feel any little drops of moisture on your skin. It will make you want to touch your face, and you don’t want to do that because then you have salt drips on your face. You also want to try to avoid getting it in your eyes nose and mouth.
If you float long enough, all of these things will happen eventually. The best thing to do is hop out, rinse off in the shower, then hop back in. Its good to get it over with quickly, rather than waste good float time being uncomfortable in the tank, wondering whether you should get out and shower or try to stick it out. Just hop out and shower, you’ll be able to sink right back into your float. You don’t have worry about starting all over from the beginning, you’ll quickly get back to where you were.”
On Bumping into the Wall
“Finally, you’ll end up drifting over to the side of the tank and making contacting with the wall. The best thing to do, is to just stay still, and you’ll slowly drift away from it. If you push off, even gently, you’ll probably just end up on the other side of the tank hitting the other wall.”
Any Other Questions and One Last Reminder
I then ask the floater if they have any other questions. If they look nervous, I tell them:
“There’s nothing to it really. Its all about relaxing. You feel yourself relax, and then you just sink deeper and deeper into that feeling. By the time the music comes on, you’ll probably be feeling so comfortable you’ll wish you could stay in longer.”
I then remind them one last time to turn their lamps off, to watch their step while getting into the tank, and where the bathroom is. Finally, I and tell them to have a great float and I will see them on the other side.
A personal touch
We feel strongly that each new floater should be given a personal walkthrough by someone on our team. While some centers provide an orientation video, we believe that providing a personal touch with each floater relaxes them and offers up the opportunity to ask questions while the information is fresh on their mind.
How does your float center welcome new floaters?
Email us with your tips and best practices for welcoming a first time floater.