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Hidden Gems: Meet Alicia Hagen of Just Float

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alicia Hagen.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Just Float was founded over five years ago by two families who wanted to share the practice of floating with as many people as possible. After their first life-changing floating experiences, they knew they had found something very powerful and important. They set out on a mission to build the world’s largest float center and ended up with 11 cabins in our only location in Pasadena. Flotation Therapy, also known as sensory deprivation tanks, is an extremely valuable tool that can be used for so many different reasons and is a great addition to anyone’s self-care regimen. One main objective the founders had was to make the floating experience with us as accommodating and technologically advanced as they could, and they wanted to elevate those standards for the industry as a whole. They custom-designed many different cabin prototypes and were finally satisfied with the beautiful cabins we still have today. At 5ft wide, 8ft long, and 7ft tall, they are larger float cabins and being equipped with lights and music controlled from inside, our cabins are accommodating to everyone, including those with hesitations about being enclosed in a sensory deprivation tank.

The default experience here is you have your own private suite with the shower and cabin together, and when you are ready, you push a start button that turns off the lights and starts 5 minutes of music to help settle you in, and then the music fades as you drift into the silence. However, the start button is also a light switch so you can choose between darkness or low light, and we can leave music on so you can use the volume button in the cabin to turn the music off when you’re ready – or leave it on the whole time if you’d prefer! The water inside is about 11 inches deep, has over 1,000lbs of Epsom salt dissolved into it so that you float completely effortlessly, and is treated with a plan developed with the top Orange County water sanitation engineers. Today’s goals are still a lot like the goals during our creation: sharing an elevated and accommodating floating experience with as many people as possible. Our clients consist of a wide array of people, young and old, who come in for many different reasons. Stress and anxiety relief, pain management, workout recovery and self-care are the most common. COVID precautions have drastically changed our schedule and staffing over the last year, but the floats are the same and we are very grateful to be able to continue to serve our clients and community.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a super smooth road! Like many small businesses, there are plenty of hurdles to get over and always lots of unforeseen bumps along the way. However, we have been supported by an incredible member base full of people who understand the value of floating and a staff who are equally passionate about what we are providing. The design, build out, and opening were huge challenges, and we were not willing to stop until everything was exactly how we wanted it. We dealt with delays and made changes for a long time, and one of the most difficult hurdles was clearance from the health inspectors. Float tanks are not like any other public pool, but since they are still kind of niche, they are usually treated by the health departments as such. This causes a lot of frustration on both sides as they typically require chlorine and we refuse to use it for many reasons. Luckily, with the assistance in creating our water treatment plan, we made it through eventually and much easier than some other float centers.

Overall, our biggest struggle is an industry wide struggle, which is that this practice is largely not known about in the general public. Our marketing and advertising specifically have to take on the task of educating people on what floating is, why/how it is beneficial, and then why they should come do it with us… all at the same time. The industry rebranding from sensory deprivation (which objectively doesn’t immediately sound appealing to most) to flotation therapy has helped significantly, however there is still quite a large educational gap that needs to be filled. COVID has absolutely thrown curve balls at us, but we have also felt very lucky in that we were set up pretty well to make the necessary changes to reopen safely. Our water is already treated with high concentration hydrogen peroxide and UV light, each room was built with its own air filtration system (originally designed for temperature control), so even if someone is floating next door they aren’t sharing air, and they are also called isolation tanks – a personal service that is completely individual. We’ve adjusted our cleaning and staggered our schedule and are so grateful to be able to be open and provide such a powerful self-care tool to our community and clients, especially now.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Flotation Therapy, traditionally sensory deprivation tanks, is a practice used for many benefits. You have your own private cabin, with 11 inches of 95* water that has over 1,000lbs of Epsom salt dissolved into it. The salt creates a weightless environment where you float completely effortlessly without any pressure points allowing your spine and joints to decompress, and it also provides the anti-inflammatory, muscle recovery, and skin-softening benefits of an Epsom salt bath. The water temperature matches the average skin temperature, and ideally you won’t be able to feel the difference between your skin, the water, and the air. It can be pitch black and completely silent, which provides the traditional sensory deprivation experience, or we have light and music options if that will make it more comfortable. We are very proud to have helped raise the industry standards of accommodations and technology/automation, offering our service to people who would otherwise be hesitant or uninterested. Especially when in full sensory deprivation, the benefits continue as it facilitates a sort of nervous system reset. The way I describe it is catching up on our backlog.

In general, and especially in a big city like LA and with our constant use of technology, most people are regularly overstimulated. The stimuli-restricted environment of a float tank can give your mind and body a break and a chance to catch up on the information that is overwhelming it. Frequently clients come out saying they feel ‘lighter’ both physically and mentally. Our goals now are to continue raising the standards for ourselves and others through our service. Floating is an incredible tool and can be a vulnerable self-care practice. Our staff is passionate about floating and want to deliver the best possible customer service experience to our clients with the intention of providing a comfortable and relaxing experience from the moment you walk in until hopefully long after you leave. The title of Float Guide was chosen, as we are here to simply guide you through, with the actual experience and practice being completely individual. Our new schedule gives us more time to invest in each client who comes in and out, and the relationships we’ve formed with our regular clients is the most valuable part of our business, as we couldn’t be here without them.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
The biggest shift and goal for us is education. Education for the general public, for health departments, for doctors and insurance companies. As an industry, we are following the paths of chiropractic and acupuncture practices. There are many clinical trials being done, and eventually as an industry we’d like to be able to be recognized as the healing practice that we are. We’d like to be included in wellness plans and insurance coverage. If in the next five years, we could get to a place where most people have heard of floating and have a basic understanding of what it is and what it does, that would be amazing. We are definitely headed in that direction and have seen explosive growth in the last ten years, so we’re hoping to continue on that trend and keep expanding and improving and helping more people heal.

Pricing:

  • First Float $59
  • Single Float $79
  • Monthly Memberships starting at $107/month
  • 10 Float Package $497
  • Happy Hour Float $55 (W/Th/F 9am-2:15pm)

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Jan Easter

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