Floating 2.0

Flotation therapy is experiencing a spacial upgrade.

In the early days of floating, if you wanted to experience sensory deprivation, you’d book a session in a claustrophobic tank most likely located in a hippie apartment. The benefits (relieving stress, improving sleep, alleviating aches) haven't changed since then, but the aesthetics certainly have.

As the act of zoning out in warm, Epsom salt-filled water sees a renewed interest among high-performers (athletes Steph Curry and Aly Raisman are reportedly fans), the environments in which you can float are being upgraded. “Instead of people being afraid to climb into a dark, narrow space and close a hatch door, they’re now introduced to flotation therapy with a sleek cabin or pod that’s warmly lit with a soft glowing hue,” says Gina Antioco, co-owner of Lift/Next Level Floats, a flotation center in Brooklyn. “No one is afraid of these.”

It’s no surprise that Instagram-ready luxury float therapy centers are popping up around the country. Meditation is bigger than ever, and floating seems to take it to the next level. “There’s a mental clarity that comes with a float,” Antioco says. “It’s the opportunity to quiet the 'monkey brain' and find stillness in an otherwise overstimulated existence.” Studies have shown that sensory isolation in a flotation tank decreases stress, depression and anxiety, while at the same time increasing optimism and sleep quality.

At Just Float, a massive new center in Pasadena, California, tanks are replaced by suites complete with showers and dressing areas. Once you’ve rinsed off, a small door leads to the sleek soundproof flotation unit, which is about the size of a large, shallow tub. Post-float, clients are encouraged to hang out in the relaxation lounge, where they can journal, color (floating is also known for stimulating creativity) or just talk about the experience over tea.

Do you reach a higher plane of understanding when your sensory deprivation tank is located in a sleek suburban SoCal oasis versus a pachouli-scented, dreamcatcher-adorned apartment? Probably not, but it can't hurt.