You Float At iFloat

From the Peace Corps to teaching advanced biology to recent immigrant teenagers at the Brooklyn International School, David Conneely has spent his working life helping others grow and reach their potential.

Now he wants people to float in warm water in a dark, insulated private room. It’s a relaxing, rejuvenating experience — and one that, in its own way, encourages people to grow and reach their potential.

Floating in Westport.

Floating in Westport.

David’s path to iFloat — on Main Street above Oscar’s, it’s the only 4-room float center east of Arizona — was an outgrowth of his own desire to understand how to harness the mind’s shifting patterns.

David first floated — in warm water with 1000 pounds of Epsom salt, no light and almost no sound; the incredibly relaxing experience calms the nervous system, amplifies slow brain waves that are the source of creativity and insight, and stimulates dopamine — about 5 years ago.

Inspired and enlightened, he bought a float tank for his own New York apartment. He taught workshops. Last summer, a colleague offered to invest, if David wanted to expand.

Andrew Shinn and David  Conneely.

Andrew Shinn and David Conneely.

He loved teaching, but sensed the time was right to make a move. Andrew Shinn, his partner in a long-distance relationship, lived in Cambridge. They decided to open a float tank in Boston, and gave themselves a year to get ready.

Through Google, Andrew stumbled on iFloat, an existing business in Westport. Driving to Brooklyn to visit David, he stopped in.

No one was there. Andrew learned the former owner had basically abandoned it 2 months earlier. Two days from then, workers would rip out the float tanks, and turn it into a chiropractor’s office.

Lee Papageorge, Oscar’s owner and iFloat’s landlord, saw Andrew’s concern. Lee said the iFloat owner might sell his business to Andrew.

After poring over spreadsheets and talking with lawyers, David and Andrew made an offer. Nine months earlier than they expected — and 160 miles south — they owned a suite of float tanks.

iFloat logoThey opened on January 8, part time. David took an early leave from his teaching job, and moved here in March. Andrew joined him in April. iFloat was now a full-time operation.

Though they did not choose Westport — “it chose us,” David says — the choice worked out well.

The owners have done plenty of community outreach. Artists receive 3 complimentary floats, in exchange for providing float-inspired works. Teachers, students, public employees and nurses get discounts.

A monthly wellness event (with free food and drinks) is a popular attraction. Courses and lectures on improving brain patterns and communication are good draws too.

David and Andrew love those crowds. But they also appreciate serving as sounding boards for people after their hour in the float tank.

A glass brain sits in the iFloat conference room.

A glass brain sits in the iFloat conference room.

“Things pop into your mind while you’re suspended there,” David explains. “You’re isolated from all stimuli. You just rest, reduce stress, and concentrate on healing your body and mind.” iFloat’s lounge (with tea) is a good place to re-acclimate.

As a long-time teacher, David enjoys educating Westporters about the float experience.

“We want this to be a place were people can come, slow down, reflect, and leave in a better state of mind.”

9 responses to “You Float At iFloat

  1. You’ve gotta try it. It’s great.

  2. What is the cost to float per hour?

    Thanks!

  3. A sensory deprivation tank?

    • Sort of but it’s not completely ‘Altered States’. In fact the first time I went, Andrew guaranteed that I would not turn into a monkey.

    • Yes, this is a sensory deprivation tank. It is just more like a room than a pod. Unfortunately, “Altered States” gave deprivation tanks a bad name.

  4. I’ve floated there twice and it’s fantastic. Incredibly relaxing.

  5. Some people have a lot of extra time and money on their hands.

  6. To Skeptical…… You’re comment was funny. I take it you don’t think this is for you. But I just woke up in Westport, didn’t you? You can’t be surprised that people have a little extra cash in this town?

    I haven’t floated yet because I’m a bit claustrophobic. But I have met Andrew and David, and they are the salt of the earth – pun intended. They are warm and kind and community minded. People in this town spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on boating, skiing, traveling, etc. For many of them those activities give them some relaxation and peace from a sadly hectic life. I think $75 is a good price for that!