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Float To Bliss

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.” – Isak Dinesen

Amy Harder loves the idea that salt water heals everything. “That is a bold statement,” says Amy, “but it is a fun way to think about it.”

Amy, along with her partner James, own Float Harder – a relaxation center in Portland, Maine. Amy and James are both Maine natives, but it was a spa in Denver, Colorado that inspired them to open their own Float Tank center. After experiencing immediate benefits from their very first float session, the couple knew that floating was something they wanted to incorporate into their everyday lives.

Fast forward a few years, and a few more adventures, Amy and James found themselves back in Maine with big plans. The couple opened Float Harder with the mission of offering affordable floating to the people of their home state. I speak for the people when I say - thanks, Amy and James!

If you have yet to experience a float, you might be wondering what exactly goes on in there. Luckily the crew at Float Harder is well informed and ready to make you feel as relaxed as they are. That being said, feeling apprehensive about floating is not uncommon. One of the most frequently asked questions at Float Harder is “Will I feel claustrophobic?” For those who can relate, Amy assures us that we are in complete control. Each tank or pod is located in its own private room. You can choose to leave the lights on or leave the lid open, and you can hop out at any time (although once you get comfortable, you likely won’t want to!).

Speaking of tanks and pods – let’s talk about how they work. Each float tank (or pod - same idea, just a different design) contains over 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt (also known as magnesium sulfate). The salt creates a buoyancy so you float effortlessly in the tank, no swimming skills required! The water in the tank is heated to skin temperature, and passes through a full filtration process between each session.

Okay, so you’re floating in a tank of clean, warm, salty water… which sounds amazing, but what is it actually doing? We asked Amy to tell us a bit more about the benefits of floating. Turns out there are many!

Two Major Advantages to Floating are Sensory Reduction and Gravity Reduction.

In our busy and overstimulated world, the need to replenish our senses and create space for relaxation is real. The float tank provides a container where outside distractions, sound and stimulation are limited so that we may truly drop into a state of deep relaxation. By spending an hour or more in the tank, our nervous system has the opportunity to shift from a place of constantly being “on” in fight or flight mode, to a place of rest and digest. According to Float Harder, sensory reduction can help ease symptoms of tension and stress, and could increase overall well-being.

Our bodies are constantly weighted by gravity. Floating may actually reduce the pressure of gravity on our joints and muscles. When we spend time in a float tank, we give our bodies a chance to rest in weightlessness. The energy we constantly expel on resisting the force of gravity can then be allocated towards other areas that require healing. According to Float Harder, benefits from gravity reduction may include pain relief, improved alignment, immune strengthening and faster injury rehabilitation.

Last but not least, we asked Amy who should float. Her answer? "Everyone!"

For more information, be sure to connect with the Float Harder team at Be Well Fest this January. Visit their Relaxation Center located at 500 Washington Ave. in Portland, Maine; or on the web at

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