About Float Madison
Madison's first downtown floatation therapy and sensory deprivation tank center was born in the same manner as many new businesses: out of necessity. And based on seven years of floating experience, including visiting over 40 float centers around the world, Float Madison was built using the best float technologies available today, making them a world-class float studio.
Greg Griffin - Founder/Owner/Operator
A health crisis in my early 20s led me down a path of wellness which eventually led me to opening Float Madison. Growing up eating a diet worse than the standard American diet, combined with non-stop partying and binge drinking in my late teens/early 20s, eventually caused my body to start breaking down in pain in early 2008. After six weeks of doctor visits, two trips to the E.R. and many tests, I finally decided to ask my doctor if my diet of soda, frozen food, packaged food, fast food, and alcohol could be a possible culprit to my severe abdominal and chest pain. His response of, “No, it's probably not that, we'll set you up for a C.T. Scan next week”, changed my life. "Really? Not, 'eat healthy for a few days, it won't hurt'?", I thought to myself, "Maybe it is diet." I began eating what I thought was healthy at the time, mainly cutting out all of the overly-processed foods, and within three days the chest pain I had been experiencing non-stop for the past six weeks stopped, and the acid-reflux I've experienced since my childhood was suddenly gone, never to return. And down the rabbit hole I went.
Fast forward to 2011. I was listening to a favorite podcast of mine at the time, the Joe Rogan Experience, and he was discussing the “most important tool that I’ve ever used for developing my mind”. I was intrigued. For the past few years, I had been living on a farm house in the country where I had landscaped beautiful, edible gardens; learned to grow, cook, sprout, can, ferment, and store food; where I had been eating extremely healthy, working out, spending a lot of time outdoors and saving money to buy land, learn to build a house and start a permaculture homestead. I was in school for nutrition and working in the health and wellness department of my local grocery co-op. It was a time where I was stuffing my brain with as much useful knowledge as possible, but still wasn't sure of my life mission. And when I heard Joe Rogan discussing his float experiences, I knew I had to float. So, where is the closest float center? Two and a half hours away in Chicago, Illinois? Perfect. Joe Rogan is doing a stand-up comedy show in a couple of months. I'll float and then see some comedy.
That first float... I know not everybody has an amazing first float, but most at least feel good and relaxed afterwards. Mine was life-changing. Emerging from the tank, I felt as if my body and mind hit control+alt+delete and I was now in a new alternate universe. I scuffled down the hallway feeling high. As soon as I began speaking to my girlfriend, I began giggling uncontrollably. “Why do I feel so good? Why don't I always feel this good? Why isn't this extremely popular and in Madison of all places?”. As I spoke to one of the owners of Spacetime Tanks, I noticed how sharp my senses were, how quickly thoughts were coming and how clear I was speaking. I was used to speaking like it was the last time I would ever speak, but in this post-float state, I was so in the moment. My new plan became to finish school, receive my degree in nutritional science and open a wellness center with a couple of float pods.
After another year in school, I began feeling bored of the curriculum. I felt this was due to the rising popularity in healthier eating; the focus on local foods; eating whole foods; the rise of organics. Old friends began contacting me for health and diet tips. It eventually came to a peak where about one person a week would message me to thank me for all the posts I made over the past few years on nutrition and wellness, excitedly tell me that they are on a similar path to get healthier, and asked if I could recommend some resources for them to get started. Though I felt as if I was on the right path, the path of helping others become healthier themselves, it just didn't seem like enough anymore. I had thoughts that my path needed to take a new course and that people would be able to get the nutrition advice they needed elsewhere.
Around the same time, I came across author, Jake Ducey, and grabbed a copy of his book, “Into the Wind”. His book inspired me. I took a break from school, quit my job and traveled. During my travels, I would book a float as soon as I landed somewhere to help with jet lag and sleep recovery. I was reading about and met other young, successful wellness industry business owners during my travels too. When I would mention my dream of someday opening a float center once I finished school and took some business classes, people kept repeating the same thing, "Why wait? Why not do it now? You'll figure things out along the way. You don't need a business degree to start a business!". It sounded crazy at first because we are used to being told that we need a degree to do what we want to do with our lives. But I realized that these other young people figured it out, so why couldn't I?
Opening a float center is work. Hard work. Work that challenged me to my core. I've pulled all-nighters and even had a couple of small breakdowns where I lay on the floor sobbing out all the built up stress. Everything that could have went wrong did, and then some. But I would receive phone calls and emails every few days from people anticipating my opening. People who needed to float. Them, my loving, patient girlfriend and the many float center owners I had become friends with kept me going. Plus, once I got so deep into the project, taking out big loans, signing a long-term lease and constructing the build out, I had a lot more to lose than just a dream.
Then, the doors finally opened and the stories began pouring in. The thanks yous. The hugs. The crying from people who have lived with chronic pain for years and finally found relief at Float Madison. These people are the reason why I come in day-after-day, even when things seem mundane, I'm high stressed and I have little to no free-time to be with family and friends. I've sacrificed my health, losing over 10 pounds of hard-earned muscle in the last 18 months, have acne I haven't had since high school, eat out almost every meal because I'm exhausted when I get home and don't make the time to meal prep like I used to, am lucky to get five hours of sleep at night and am lucky to see my family and friends every couple of months. These people are what make Float Madison the special sanctuary I call my other home. ...And, I get to float whenever I want now.
What I really want out of my story is to inspire others who go through what we all go through; the mental blocks, the fears and the resistance. When you have a dream, go for it. Just begin the journey. You will learn so much in the process, and even if your end goal isn't met, I bet the journey will take you down unexpected avenues that will lead to new connections, friends, goals and dreams. The float tank is an incredible tool for sorting ideas out and helping you realize your true potential.
I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of those that told me to “go for it” when I was questioning whether or not I had what it took to open a float center. Thank you to all of you who float here, whether it's once in a while or multiple times a week. Thank you for all the hugs and high fives. Thank you for following along my journey, and I hope to see you in soon!