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Sensory deprivation tanks offer calming experience

Published on

Cathy Dobson

It’s a feeling like you’ve never had before, explains Nicole Warner, co-owner of the new Zen Float Center on Christina Street.

“For the first time in your life, you don’t have to focus on lights, sound, gravity or even touch,” she said.

“You literally feel like you’re floating in space.”

Warner and partner Tom Kremer say they staunchly believe in the benefits of sensory deprivation achieved by floating weightlessly in a tank of warm saltwater.

Floatation tanks are a trend sweeping the country and the couple is banking that Sarnians will buy into it too.

Kremer, long-time owner of Insight Tattoo on Christina Street, said he was in British Columbia the first time he tried a float tank.

“Without any outside stimulation, my brain could turn inward and I found I could do a lot of problem solving and come up with a lot of ideas as an artist,” he said.  “If I had time, I’d float every day.”

A year ago he ordered a Zen float tent, which is a less elaborate and less expensive version of a float tank, and installed it at home.

“He told me to go out and buy 800 pounds of Epson salts for the tank he ordered,” said Warner. “We were so amazed at how well it worked and how much our friends liked it.

“They weren’t sure at first but once they tried it, they discovered that you just glow after being in the tank.”

Kremer and Warner, who had been working at a call centre and selling handmade all-natural artisan soaps on the side, say they see the business potential in opening Sarnia’s first float centre. They also hope it will contribute to the physical and mental wellbeing of local residents.

On Nov. 1, Zen Float Center opened with three 4 X 8-foot float tents, each providing a soundproof and lightless float environment in a private room with a shower, vanity, robe and timer.

Each tank holds ten inches of water with enough Epson salts to allow the body to float effortlessly.  First-time clients are given an orientation and earplugs.

The float experience is best with nothing on, said Warner.  “The feel of a bathing suit on your skin can be distracting.”  Clients climb in, close the tent door, and float for half-an-hour to an hour at a time.

Feedback in the first week was great, she said. “You don’t even feel the water around you so your body focuses inwardly.  The longer you float, any pain just goes away and your brain starts making up its own fun.”

Float tank advocates say the experience is a natural stress reliever, can help with depression and anxiety, and is good for those who suffer from asthma, high blood pressure, muscle cramps and osteoporosis.

“It feels good if you’re pregnant, if you have aches and pains, if you have a bad back. There are so many benefits for so many people,” said Kremer.

Zen Float Centre is located at 464 Christina St. North and is open 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.  Prices vary, starting at $45 for a half hour; $55 for 45 minutes and $70 for an hour. Packages are available.  Call 226-886-1511 or visit


Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.




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