Most any reputable business consulting and marketing firms will agree if a business can make it beyond the three-year mark, it’s more likely to stick around. So, it should be no surprise that all of us here at Theta are ecstatic to be celebrating our third birthday on February 1st. Being a business owner is much like being a parent and Matt Blystone is the proud parent of this baby he introduced to our community in 2016. He has nurtured, protected and nourished this baby, cleaning up after its messes and ensuring it is left in good hands when he’s not available. He’s provided wisdom and guidance through the growing pains and is now looking forward to watching it continue to thrive on its own, gaining more confidence and independence each year.

As his partner, I’m excited to be on this journey with him and while I’ve only been at Theta for a year, I’ve been amazed at what we’ve accomplished together. I’ve asked Matt what he feels are Theta’s biggest accomplishments and growth areas as well as what he’s learned from these last three years and from our clients. Here’s what he has to say…

When I started working on a business plan for Theta in April 2015, it had been about four years since I’d floated and the total number of floats under my belt was three. My first few floats were at Float On in Portland, Oregon, now one of the most famous float centers in the world, and the first to hold an international conference on the benefits of flotation therapy. I’d just finished a 10-day silent meditation retreat, so my mind was primed for the experience.

I’ll never forget the first time I slid down in to the Oasis tank, closed the door behind me, laid down and..... hahahaha, there I was, bobbing like a cork and giggling like a child. Floating like that is unlike anything I’d ever experienced, and I loved every bit of it. Once I stabilized myself in the water, I began to practice my breathing technique from meditation and no sooner had I started, the faint beat of a drum began to resonate within the tank. It got louder and louder and was my cue to get out. Wow, 90-Minutes had flown by and I remembered a hazy, dream-like period of thoughts drifting by, but I never fell asleep. I showered, got dressed, and walked out of the room just in time to make eye contact with my friend who was leaving her float suite as well. We both burst into laughter, it was euphoric. The whole thing was one bizarre, seemingly familiar, unexplainable, most relaxing experience I had ever encountered. I was in love.

Fast forward to February 1, 2016, our doors finally open after a few 20-hour workdays to make our deadline. We had a booming start. So many people had been waiting a long time for the opportunity to try floating and I was super excited to finally share it with them. It didn’t take long to begin learning things about the float spa business, as well as some things about the people who try floating and the incredibly diverse experiences they have. Here’s a simplified list…

    1. There are not many materials that can hold up to the destructive power of salt water. Unfortunately, when we did our construction, no one had figured out what materials could. Now we know: epoxy floors and cultured marble showers! Lesson learned, the hard way.

    2. No matter how prepared you think you are for your float, always stay open to the possibility of being thrown for a loop. I like to call it a “buy the ticket, take the ride” kind of experience.

    3. Sixty minutes in the tank is just not long enough for most first-timers. We had more than enough people come out of their first float stating, “I was just getting there and the music came on”. No bueno! We limited all floats to 90-minutes, then reintroduced the 60-minute sessions when we discovered experienced floaters don’t always need a long float to get their ideal experience. In fact, I tend to be good at about 75 minutes.

    4. There are more people afraid of enclosed spaces than I ever imagined. The number one fear we address is claustrophobia. We’ve become pretty good at encouraging people to overcome those fears and I believe everyone can. After all, I’ve had hundreds, if not thousands, of apprehensive people come out of the float suite with a big smile on their face, saying “I’m glad I did that”, “that was great”, and my personal favorite quote from a client, “ya know, it’s actually bigger inside the tank, than outside the tank”. So, if you want to, we are always willing to give you a tour of the tanks and especially the gigantic float cabin, which is the size of a large walk-in closet.

    5. Flotation therapy, massage therapy and the far infrared sauna work very well with one another. The synergy between all three services is hard to beat, but we recommend sitting in the sauna before a massage or a float session. The sauna gets your muscles all melty warm so your therapist can work more effectively with your muscles. Hopping in a float tank with your muscles all warm and relaxed is a bliss I can’t explain. Just try it, trust me.

    6. The only wrong way to float is face down. When I started, I was a purist. I wanted everyone to have the total sensory deprivation experience. I still do, but what I’ve learned is not everybody wants that, nor is everybody ready for it. Not to mention, simply lying in our water helps supplement your magnesium levels while also allowing your muscles to relax completely by removing gravity’s strain. So, if you want music on, go for it. If you want a light, go for it. I now encourage experimentation during your float and have found, myself, listening to guided meditations or binaural beats to be very effective in different ways.

    7. Floating is way more effective at reducing chronic pain than I ever thought it would be. Sufferers of chronic pain keep coming back because it’s the only natural remedy they’ve found for their issues. We created the Floating Free from Pain program to address this and send data back to physicians in hopes less people will be prescribed pills before first exploring flotation therapy. It’s been so effective that the Sports Medicine department from a local hospital has begun to send patients our way. Yay for alternative therapies and community partnerships!

    8. Pregnant women love the relief they get while in the tank, and the baby seems to as well. I love hearing the stories from these women, the close personal experience they have with their unborn child in the silence. It’s always nice to see them glowing - even more - when they return from their session, having eased the burden of baby weight, even for just an hour or so.

Moving forward, we plan to continue our growth, ensuring our clients enjoy a world-class experience, and reach more of our community through education. This includes developing promotional and funding partnerships to provide those who could benefit from floating but cannot afford it, access to this unique therapy. We plan more outreach to clinics, coaches, psychologists and schools to raise awareness about the numerous benefits our tanks have to offer.