Frequently Asked General Questions

When should I arrive?

Arrive 15 minutes early and take a few minutes to wind down in the lobby before your appointment. You can read, enjoy our complimentary tea, or simply hang out. Entering your session in a relaxed state will maximize your experience.

If you’re a new client give extra time to allow for parking and filling out intake paperwork.

Where can I park?

Next to our entrance is a parking garage. You may park for free in any numbered, undesignated spot.

Is Float North wheelchair accessible?

Yes. Our entire facility is wheelchair accessible.

Parking: Park in the “Reserved Parking” spot next to the parking garage entrance or park in the parking garage and use the elevator to come up to the main level. There is a long hallway that goes through the building that puts you out at our front door. Give us a call if you have questions about parking. 503-659-1212

Float: The open float pool is designed for people in wheelchairs and for larger, taller bodies. There is an ADA shower, a transfer ledge to get into the pool, and transfer handles. If you need help getting into the pool please bring someone who is trained to assist you.

Massage: We have an electric massage table that can be lowered to 17″ off the ground to allow an easy transfer from wheelchair to massage table.

Bathrooms: ADA compliant.

Float North was not required by the City of Portland to be ADA accessible. We believe it is important to make Float North as accessible as possible for everyone.

Frequently Asked Float Questions

What is float therapy?

Float therapy or floating is also known as Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (R.E.S.T.), sensory deprivation, or flotation therapy.

1,000 pounds of medical grade magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt) is added to water to create an 11″ deep solution in a large tub. The tubs vary in size, we have 8′ x 4′ and 8.5′ x 5.5′ tubs. The solution is heated to skin temperature which means your brain cannot distinguish the difference between yourself and the water.

Floating effortlessly, your body is supported and freed from all sensation of gravity, temperature, touch, sight, sound, and taste (which together account for 90% of normal neuro-muscular activity), you conserve and redirect vast amounts of natural physical and mental energy.

The ultra-deep relaxation of floating resets the body’s balance, strengthening resistance to and accelerating recovery from the effects of stress, illness, injury, or strenuous exercise.

What should I expect?

No expectations are the best expectations for a float. Each float is different depending on what you bring to the environment.

On the practical side, arrive early, you will be given an intake form to fill out and have a chance to ask questions. The float facilitator will take you to your float room and give a brief introduction to all the items in the room. The Ocean Float Rooms have starlight ceilings and underwater lights. The open float pool has underwater lights only. You shower and get in the tub. Music plays for the first 10 minutes to get you used to the environment (this can be turned off). After 10 minutes the music fades out and you have complete control over the lights and doors. When your time is up the lights and music in the tank come back on to let you know it’s time to get out and rinse the salt water off.

After your float feel free to use the Ready Room to blow dry your hair, apply makeup, or use the provided lotion/deodorant/q-tips.  We encourage you to relax in the lobby for as long as you like after your session.

Do I need to bring anything?


  • In your private float room with your own shower, we provide towels, washcloths, a robe, slippers, ear plugs, shampoo, body wash, conditioner, facial tissues, and makeup remover wipes.
  • In the Ready Room we provide mirrors, hair dryers, combs, q-tips, body lotion, deodorant, and makeup remover wipes.
  • In the lobby there is filtered water and tea to enjoy as well as kombucha and sparkling water for purchase.

Bring (optional):

  • personal cosmetics, a hairbrush, and contact lens case and cleaner
  • fresh socks and underwear to change into after your float or a change of clothes if you’d like to be more comfortable after your float
  • a journal to write in after your experience
  • a friend to share the experience

It is not necessary to wear a bathing suit in your private suite unless you feel more comfortable wearing one.

What do I need to do to prepare for a float?

We have a few tips to help you get more out of your float.

  • avoid or minimize caffeine intake a few hours before your float
  • don’t shave or wax prior to your float (it will sting!)
  • eat a meal or a snack
  • arrive and check-in 15 minutes early so you’re not stressed about being late before your float

What if I'm claustrophobic?

Fear not, you are in complete control of the environment. You can float with lights on or off, music or you can simply open the door should you feel the need. Think about it this way, when the lights are off and you can’t see the physical dimensions of the room, the feeling is expansive – limitless versus limiting.

We have 2 styles of float rooms. Our open pool is not enclosed at all. Our Ocean Float Rooms are beautiful with starlit ceilings that are 7′ above your head.

If you’re still concerned we recommend scheduling a tour before making an appointment to see which room is the best fit for you.

Is the water clean?

Absolutely. Almost nothing grows in salt water this dense. The water is far cleaner than any swimming pool you’ve taken a dip in. We filter the water with 1-micron filtration, ultraviolet rays, hydrogen peroxide shock, and maintain the pH to keep the water at its cleanest. Even better, our powerful filtration system runs 3 complete cycles between floats, providing you with the most sanitary environment possible.

What if I fall asleep?

You will get the best rest you’ve had in a long time. You are held by the salt solution in one of the most comfortable environments on earth. Your body completely lets go and the sleep is deep and profound. Your brain and body will do what they need most if that is sleep go with it.

Floating with a vagina...

Some people experience a stinging sensation “down there”. It’s usually not present during every float and it often goes away after the first 5-10 minutes.

The vagina is naturally acidic (pH 3.5-4.5) and the float solution is super alkaline (pH 7 – 7.5).
Hormones change the pH of our mucous membranes and can make them more sensitive. If you’re experiencing discomfort during a float try floating at different times during your cycle. The stinging may be less about a week or 2 after your flow ends.
Sex and/or rough wiping with toilet tissue paper can cause micro tears that we wouldn’t otherwise feel.
There’s a product that may help maintain vaginal pH that could help if applied a few days before and right before a float, it’s called RepHresh (refresh with a “pH” instead of an “f”).
Here’s a blog post about others experience with floating and vaginas.
The comments are very informative at the end of this article.

What about my hair?

The magnesium water is fantastic for skin and hair. You will notice your hair is softer, fuller, and more manageable.

If you have recently dyed your hair please wait until the color has set, often as long as 4 weeks. If there is dye coming off on your towel or in the shower the color will stain the tub. If you have used an at-home hair dye kit wait the full 4 weeks. If you come in with bright colors like red, pink, purple, or blue we may reschedule your float.

If you have peroxide or blond highlights there is no need to wait.

If you have extensions or a weave it’s best to ask the person who did your hair because there are so many different products. To be on the safe side, time your floats the day before your hair appointments.

Hair extensions that are glued or taped in are often not affected by the salt.

People with extensions/weaves have noticed that it can loosen them. The main issue in keeping keratin bonded extensions in the hair is keeping sulfates away from the hair. Epsom salt = magnesium SULFATE.
Again, to be on the safe side, schedule your float before your hair appointment.

Frequently Asked Massage Questions

If you have a question about massage that is not listed here, please feel free to send a message. Below are some of the most common questions asked about massage therapy.

But first, here are a few tips about getting the most out of your session.

This is YOUR session. Speak up!

Why is this so important? If you want anything changed: pressure, areas worked, position or if you are too hot or too cold … speak up!

You will not hurt the therapist’s feelings by asking for something that will make you more comfortable. Your therapist wants this to be the best experience for you.

Also, what you requested in one session may be different in another. If you had a full body massage last time you had a session, but this time you only want your back/neck/shoulders/arms worked, it’s perfectly fine to ask. You will enjoy your sessions so much more!

What are the different types of massage?

The terms massage therapy and bodywork are often used interchangeably. However, bodywork is an ‘umbrella’ term which includes many techniques/styles including massage. Bodywork includes just about any form of touch/healing therapy aimed at improving one’s energy, physical structure or mind-body connection.

There are many, many types of massage and bodywork being practiced all over the world. Here’s a look at some of the more common types of massage and bodywork, starting with massage.

Swedish Massage – Probably the most common type of massage, a Swedish Massage uses five basic strokes to increase circulation, decrease muscle tension and increase relaxation. An oil, lotion, or cream is applied to the skin to reduce friction.

Deep Tissue Massage – This form of massage uses techniques to reach deeper layers of muscle and fascia. Sometimes called deep pressure massage, deep muscle massage, or even deep tissue sculpting, these techniques require that the therapist have a good understanding of anatomy, physiology, and myology. Superficial muscles need to be relaxed to reach the deeper layers, so other bodywork techniques are often mixed in throughout the session. Deep tissue massage can help relieve chronic muscular pain and help achieve better postural alignment.

Pregnancy Massage (or Prenatal Massage) – Perfect for the mother-to-be, pregnancy massage helps to decrease stress and swelling, reduce aches and pains and relieve muscle cramps/spasms all while helping prepare your body for labor. Your therapist should have additional training in this area to better understand the changes your body is going through and what techniques are safe to apply and how to properly position you throughout the nine months.

Sports Massage – Specific techniques are applied to enhance performance and speed recovery. Pre-event sports massage will focus on increasing circulation to warm up muscles (gentle stretching may be included as well). Post-event sports massage focuses more on calming and helping flush metabolic waste from muscle tissues to reduce recovery time. Sports massage can help to not only prevent sports-related injuries (cramps, spasms, pulls) but can help reduce recovery time if an injury does occur.

Medically Prescribed Massage – Medically prescribed massage and manual therapy involve a different process than a standard massage session. There is a more lengthy intake, and an in-depth consultation and assessment to understand and assess your condition. Strong knowledge of the human body and the recovery process is required. Different modalities will be used depending on your condition. This type of massage is common for Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs), Worker’s Compensation Cases (WCs), and some health insurance covered bodywork.

Myofascial Release (MFR) – This technique involves the application of sustained pressure and movement of the connective tissues in the body known as fascia. After an assessment of fascial movement, a sustained pressure/traction is applied to the tissue to release areas of restriction and immobility. It is these areas of restriction and immobility of fascia that can cause pain and decreased range of motion in the body.

Shiatsu – A Japanese form of bodywork that literally translates to ‘finger pressure’. Shiatsu practitioners use their fingers, hands, and thumbs to apply pressure to specific points and sections of the body to correct imbalances and promote health. It can help adjust the body’s physical structure as well as its natural inner energies. When points are pressed, the body’s natural healing abilities are enhanced, releasing muscle tension and increasing circulation.

What should I expect in a massage therapy session?

Please arrive about 15 minutes early for your appointment. You will be asked to fill out a health history form. It is important to list all health concerns and medications so the therapist can adapt the session to your specific needs without doing any harm. It is also important to list any allergies so the therapist is aware if they need to use a different oil or lotion during the session.

You will be given a tour of our clinic and have a chance to use the bathroom before your appointment begins. The therapist will begin your session by asking you general questions to establish what areas you would like worked on, eg, if there are any conditions that need to be addressed, and to determine what type of massage is appropriate for you. Your massage therapist may perform certain assessments and testing to evaluate your condition and to see if you have any presenting imbalances.

The therapist will leave the room to give you a chance to undress to your comfort level and get under the sheets. (See “What do I wear during a massage?”) Once you are ready, the therapist will knock on the door before entering the room to start the hands-on portion of the session. When the session is over the therapist will let you know and will leave the room so that you can get dressed. Make your way back to the lobby or to your next session. Take it slowly and feel free to ask questions!

What do I wear during a massage?

You can choose to be fully clothed (in loose comfortable clothing) or undress to the level of your optimum comfort. Shiatsu, Thai massage, and some sports massage are done clothed.

For a full body integrative massage undress to the level you are comfortable, many people get completely undressed. If you will be more comfortable during the session with undergarments on, that’s fine. Draping will be provided and modesty will be maintained at all times. The therapist will work around any clothes and tailor the session to make you comfortable. If removing all your clothes makes you too nervous and unable to relax, then you are not getting the optimal benefit from the session.

Your massage therapist will give you privacy to undress and get comfortable on the table. Draping with a sheet or towel is the law in Oregon. The therapist will only uncover the part of your body being worked on, the rest of you will be covered with a sheet.

What are the benefits of massage therapy?

Massage also called bodywork can help with the following:

* Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
* Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
* Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
* Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
* Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
* Increase joint flexibility.
* Lessen depression and anxiety.
* Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
* Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
* Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
* Reduce spasms and cramping.
* Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
* Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
* Relieve migraine pain.
* Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
* Ease medication dependence.

Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:

* Decreased anxiety.
* Enhanced sleep quality.
* Greater energy.
* Improved concentration.
* Improved digestion.
* Increased circulation.
* Reduced fatigue.

Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.


Review the clinical research studies examining the benefits of massage. 

Review massage information from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

How often should I get a massage?

Our bodies need therapeutic touch to survive and to thrive. How often you schedule an appointment will depend on your goals, stress levels, work-out routine, finances, and whether or not you’re injured. Talking to our licensed massage therapists can help you determine what the right frequency is for you, and it might change over time!

Increase the Benefits with Regular Visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage regularly can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.

Give us a call to talk to one of our professionals about tailoring a routine to your needs. 503-659-1212

Does Float North accept insurance for massage therapy?

Yes! We accept many health insurance plans, motor vehicle accident claims, and workers compensation cases. Please email Float North with a picture of your insurance card and your date of birth to check your benefits and deductible. We typically respond in 1 business day.

We also accept Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flex Spending Account (FSA) cards. These are pre-tax dollars allocated to your healthcare needs.