What Is Floating? Inside the Fitness Trend

What Is Floating? Inside the Fitness Trend That Steph Curry and Joe Rogan Swear By

Celebrities love it. Trainers swear by it. But are sensory deprivation tanks actually legit?

Most athletes will do just about anything to step up their game and get better, bigger, faster, and stronger. But the latest performance and recovery trend that's sweeping the sports world doesn’t require you to do anything at all.

Floating takes place in a light-proof, soundproof tank, also known as a “float tank” or a “sensory deprivation chamber”. While it used to be a practice reserved for the New Age hippie crowd (John Lennon used float therapy to kick his heroin habit in 1979), it’s rapidly gaining popularity in the fitness world, with some of the world’s strongest athletes swearing that regular float sessions are key to everything from decreased muscle soreness and anxiety to a noticeable performance boost during workouts. Steph Curry, for instance, recently floated in a commercial for Kaiser Permanente, and the New England Patriots have used float tanks as part of their pre-Super Bowl conditioning (Tom Brady is a particularly big fan).

But what, exactly, is floating? How does it work? And, perhaps most importantly, is it worth all the hype?

The rundown on floating

Floating requires a tank to be filled with 6 to 12 inches of water infused with hundreds of pounds of Epsom salts. The high salt content makes the water more dense, which creates the buoyancy necessary to stay afloat (this salt-to-water ratio is the same mechanism that allows you to float in the Dead Sea).

“The water is set to your skin temperature, at about 93.5 degrees,” says Leilani Wagner of Capitol Floats, Sacramento’s first float shop and a popular floating destination for local athletes. Once you get into the float tank, all you have to do is lie back, relax, and let the feeling of weightlessness take over.

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