NYC: What It's Like To Float In A Sensory Deprivation Tank

“That’s some bougie ass white people shit,” I thought as I passed by Lift Floats, a venue where people pay almost $100 to spend an hour alone in a big ass salty bathtub, presumably to escape the sidewalks of Brooklyn, where children whose parents were dense enough to give them those goddamn electric scooters wreak havoc.

Now let me make this clear: I am a bougie, crunchy ass white person, and therefore this shit is right up my alley. I also happen to be broke as fuhh. So, when my lovely boyfriend’s mum gave us a gift certificate for a float each (thank you, Stacey!) I couldn’t wait to join the ranks of several NFL teams that use these sensory deprivation tanks to “improve athletic performance.” Okay so I’m not an athlete - I only once ran a mile - but still, I have body aches (day two of my period is an early glimpse into what being 80 must feel like) and stress (I had jizz thrown at me by a homeless man last week), so I figured I could get something, at the very least a quiet nap, out of this float stuff.

We scheduled our floats a few days in advance, as salty bathtubs are all the rage right now, and on a Tuesday Pate and I sauntered over to Lift.

First thought: hygiene on point. This place is immaculately clean, yet still welcoming. We took our shoes off at the door, hung up our coats, and the laid-back receptionist gave us a tour and breakdown of the process.

First, you take a shower. Yes, the shower is in the same room as the bathtub capsule thingy, and that room is just for you. Totally private. They supply the body wash, shampoo and conditioner, although they ask that you only use the conditioner after your float, to keep oils out of the tank. They also supply individual packets of vaseline to cover any cuts from stinging like hell, as there are 1000 pounds of salt in this water. A fresh pair of earplugs are also available, to keep water out of your ears and also help seal off that last bit of sound for the full sensory deprivation effect. As well, there are fresh towels in the room, a body towel and washcloth for your face. Pro Tip: Pat dry your face dry after your shower and before starting your float to avoid stinging the shit out of your eyes. 

Then you gracefully pop your naked ass into the half-filled bathtub thing which I will call a space machine from here on out.

The space machine

The space machine

I know what you’re thinking: “Bitch you crazy. I am not locking myself in a dark ass space machine. I am claustrophobic and that’s how bitches DROWN.”

Okay hold up a fresh minute. Here’s the deal:

  1. This water is salty as fuck. Do you know of the Dead Sea in Israel/Jordan? It’s like that. The buoyancy of the salt means that you cannot sink. You can literally only float. You don’t know how to swim? No problem. You don’t have to. Just chill the fuck out and float.

  2. There’s only like a foot of water in that space machine so if you’re overwhelmed, babe, just sit on your ass.

  3. This space machine is way bigger than you think it is. It is NOT, as I had imagined, like a tanning bed. It’s significantly wider, and much much higher, so you won’t feel claustrophobic. Again, giant NFL players get down with the float. If it’s big enough for them, it’s big enough for you.

  4. Most important: Do what makes you feel comfortable. Anxiety is real and you should always honor what your body is telling you. I began with the top of the space machine open, the lights on, and calming music at the loudest level. A few minutes into just sitting like that, I brought the top down (you can push it up at any time, because of anxiety or just needing cool air. You are NEVER locked in there.) A few minutes after that, I turned the music down (there are four settings) until I was more calm, and finally I nixed the lights.
just being naked in a pink bathtub, what up

just being naked in a pink bathtub, what up

Pro Tip: Don’t drink any caffeine for at least four hours before your float. This helps keep the anxiety at bay and allows you to just relax and let go.

And then I just floated. It was strange at first, especially as I was trying to find the most comfortable position and struggling to fully trust the salty water and relax my neck and head (there is a pillow in the space machine if you choose to use it), but within a few minutes I was vibing that shit.

Did I nap? You bet your ass I did. And it was the most glorious nap I have ever taken. It’s what naps in heaven feel like. It’s the closest experience to being back in my mother’s womb as is possible. You know how pizza is the most delicious food ever known to man? Floating is relaxation pizza.

At the end of the hour, the lights came on again, and I was able to leisurely get up and out of my space machine, take a shower, and groom myself thanks to the hairdryers and lotions that are available to all clients.

After my float, I met Pate in the lobby area. One look at each other and we both knew that we were in the most emotionally calm and physically relaxed state possible. We quietly drank tea and felt like goddamn kittens basking in the natural sunlight.

After your float, you are invited to chill out with some tea for as long as you'd like

After your float, you are invited to chill out with some tea for as long as you'd like

Did I love my float? Yes. Will I go back again? Yes but probably only a couple times a year, when my body is particularly achy and when I am under an extreme amount of stress. It is expensive, which makes sense given the location and cleanliness of the facilities, but in my humble opinion, just based on how I felt from one float, it is entirely worth it.

If you'd like to try a one hour float for $69 (instead of $99) , please use my referral link here