Frequently Asked 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.

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, do some deep breathing, or simply close your eyes. 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.

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.

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.