For Rian Levick and Harley Harper, it only took one float to change their lives completely.
Now, the duo have taken their passion for the therapy and turned it into their first business, Ascension Float.
During floatation therapy, all sensory inputs are eliminated, including sound, light and gravity. Floaters lie in 10 inches of water containing 1,000 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts, allowing them to effortlessly stay at the surface. The water is warmed to skin temperature and after a short period of time, it is difficult to distinguish between the air and water.
“It’s like a gateway to finding your ultimate self,” says Levick. Harper adds, “It’s an opportunity to evolve as a person.”
Harper and Levick both worked in the oil-and-gas industry but were very unhappy with the work. However, after hearing on a podcast about floating, they each gave it a try. Soon after their initial floats, Levick and Harper each booked a trip to Portland, Ore. to attend an annual float conference where the pair met for the first time.
“I used to do shift work in the oil sands and I was just miserable,” says Harper. “I spent two thirds of my life in camp, my relationships were strained, my body was just beaten up and I didn’t like waking up in the morning.”
He says floating was the only thing that brought him back up after a long two weeks of tough work.
Levick adds, “I floated and I literally had an epiphany when I was driving away. I sat up in my car, and I was like, I have to do this. It encompassed so many things that I was looking for.”
With the same goal of opening a float centre, the two joined forces in 2015 to bring their dream to life in Airdrie.
“A huge challenge was getting your name out there when 90 per cent of people have no idea what [floating] is,” says Levick.
Harper says they are really trying to promote the benefits that floating can have for both your mind and body. When floating, there are no pressure points on the muscles and joints, allowing your ligaments to relax and the tension to leave your body. Harper adds that among the many benefits, floating can also help with stress relief, anxiety, PTSD and concussions.
“Floating can offer something for everyone, even kids,” says Levick. Harper adds, “Even just having those 90 minutes for yourself where you can let go or relax, just to feel good again, can be very beneficial.”
Ascension float has two different styles of tanks including a spacious float cabin and an open float pool.
The duo have put a lot of work into perfecting the details of their business, from the overall atmosphere to the shampoo scents. They say the experience following the float can be equally as important and have created a space where people can stay and relax.
“The post-float feeling that you have, you don’t want to cut that short,” says Harper. “You want to hang out, you want to have a smooth transition out of that experience. We wanted to create an environment where you can feel relaxed and enjoy the feeling.”
For first-time floaters, Harper says it is important to go in without any expectations because the experience is different for everyone. Also, sometimes it can take more than one session to fully relax.
“For some people, it can take a few floats to let go and trust and give in and have the experience,” says Harper. “But some people have a life-changing experience in there. Some people cry out of joy and happiness; some people just go to the end of the cosmos.”
Levick adds that they both believe floating can improve people’s lives.
“It sounds ridiculous maybe, but I want to make the world a better place by providing an environment for people to feel safe, comfortable, and explore the inner workings of their mind.”