• Thu, May 6 2010

Health and Beauty Treatment: 10 Spas Where You Can Float

Image courtesy of Tranquility Floatation, Massage & Healing Center

What the hell is floating? (a.k.a. REST, Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique)

Think 800 pounds (!) of Epsom salt dissolved into 10 inches of water in a fancy, enclosed bathtub, or an actual flotation tank (typically eight feet long, four feet wide, and four feet high, or higher) that looks like something you’d find on the planet Krypton. Basically, the idea is that the salt is so powerful that it relaxes you and sucks all the toxins out of your body. I’ve floated a lot in my day, and I hate to admit it (because the costs can add up), but it kind of works. And if you like taking baths, you’ll love floating. (And if you really get hooked, you can install one in your house!)

You float on your back, in private, wearing a bathing suit. Most tanks don’t let in natural light, but you can adjust the level of artificial light and piped-in new age-y musak. (Some spas let you bring your own CDs.) Many people like to float in the dark in absolute silence, but I’m way too claustrophobic for that. The water and air temperatures are set to the same temp as the skin’s surface, which means not too hot and not too cold. One session usually runs about an hour, and most people can float up to a couple times a week, depending on advice from their health care practitioner. Most spas claim to clean their tanks after every floater. My advice? Double check that little bit of info with them.

Floating is weird and cool. You’re completely weightless (the saltwater makes you 10 times more buoyant than when you’re in the ocean), yet totally supported, despite the fact that there’s only 10 inches of water underneath you. When I’ve completely let myself go during a float session, I’ve felt more relaxed than at any other time in my entire life. And the best part is that you don’t have to do any work at all. Personally, I don’t care if floating doesn’t have any real health benefits – it feels damn good.

Why the hell would I want to float?

– you always wanted to be an astronaut and experience zero gravity

– to alleviate stress and anxiety

– to help calm certain skin conditions

– to relieve back, neck, and shoulder pain

– to knock out PMS symptoms

– to alleviate headaches

– to reduce arthritis

– to cure a hangover

(Results differ for everyone, of course.)

10 U.S. Spas Where You Can Float:

1. Blue Light Floatation – New York, NY

2. Soothing Solutions – Burbank, CA

3. The Wellness Center – Minneapolis, MN

4. Tranquility Floatation, Massage, & Healing Center – Santa Fe, NM

5. Float Matrix – San Francisco, CA

6. Everett House Healing Center – Portland, OR

7. Zen Blend – Austin, TX

8. Inner Vision Float Center – Hilton Head Island, SC

9. The Float Spa – Bristol, PA

10. Optimal Wellness Center – Lakewood, OH

sources: Tranquility Floatation, Massage & Healing Center, Santa Fe and A New Spirit Wellness Center and Spa, Denver, CO

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