There’s a new pod in town and it’s the perfect way to float into a state of relaxation.
The Landing’s newest business, Urban Float, a float tank spa or sensory deprivation therapy, opened earlier this year. Users float inside a tank or a pod – or rather a large bathtub with a lid – in a solution of epsom salt and body temperature water. Once submerged in the dark, sound-proof pod, users are freed from all senses, allowing their brain float into an enlightened mental state, often experienced by frequent meditators.
“When you get in there, close the lid and turn off the lights, you basically have a reduced sensory input,” said Joe Beaudry, owner of Urban Float. “You’re not being bombarded with sound, smell, taste. The water is skin temperature. The longer you’re in there, you relax and you’re completely carried by the water. You don’t feel the gravity pulling you down. It almost feels like you’re floating in space. After a while, you start to lose the awareness of where your body ends and where the water begins. You no longer sense touch; that sense is being quietened down. You’re totally relaxed.”
Floating comes with numerous physical and mental therapeutic properties, including stress reduction, muscle relaxation and relief from chronic pain.
“Then there’s the mental part of being there,” said Beaudry. “It’s just you in there. No distractions. Some people will go in there and just meditate. It’s a really great way to focus on a problem you want to solve or just quiet your brain.”
For Beaudry, the pod brought a deep sense of relaxation and an inspiration for an empire.
In 2011, Beaudry was in the thick of the corporate world. He had a middle management job, one that dealt with big budgets, long term projects, frequent travel and high stress.
“It was just a lot going on. I was looking for something that would help me deal with the stress of it all,” said Beaudry. “Something that would make me a sharper mental performer, something that would improve me so I could climb the corporate ladder faster.”
That was when he came across the concept of therapeutic floating on a Joe Rogan podcast.
“I was super intrigued by what he saying,” said Beaudry. “I probably listened to the [podcast] 20 times.”
After searching desperately, he finally found a man who owned a tank in Bellevue. One (awkward) phone call later, Beaudry found himself in the man’s spare bedroom, floating in a tank.
“I went in and came out totally different,” he said. “Something changed in me in that experience. I had so much built up leading up to the appointment. When I got out, everything smelled better. I felt like I could see farther. All my sense were heightened and I felt super relaxed. I felt amazing.”
Beaudry was hooked. And he needed more. The problem was that there weren’t many sensory deprivation spas around. In fact, there were less than five spas around the country who offered floating services. And he didn’t quite want to barge into the Bellevue man’s spare bedroom every week.
So he did what any self-respecting businessman would do. He opened his own store.
“We found a spot in Fremont,” he said. “It was a test for us… and it took off! People responded really well to it!
Since its inception, the Fremont spot has always been booked six weeks in advance. The unexpected popularity led to a second store in Kirkland. After analyzing the traffic patterns at both the stores, Beaudry noticed that many patrons were driving up from the south.
“Somebody’s who going to float once a month, it’s not going to do a whole lot for them,” he said. “And if you have a long time to get to that float, it’s going to discourage them. We want to make it convenient to make it for people.”
And so started Urban Float’s newest location at The Landing in Renton.
“We’re going to keep opening up locations based on where we see customer demand, where we can make it convenient for people to float regularly because that’s when you can get the best benefits,” said Beaudry.
And while Beaudry is hungry for success, he isn’t in the game just for the money. It has been a rewarding business, one where his service affects people’s lives positively.
“People come by and thank us over and over again for changing their lives,” he said. “There’s a woman who comes in almost every day it’s helping her mobility issues. She was in pain all the time. Now her pain level is way down, she can move and live a semi-normal life. She is constantly thanking us for opening up and that she’s so glad we’re here. We get that kind of stuff a lot.”
One-hour float sessions start at $89 with a special discount for first time floaters and special package deals.