Wellness: Take a Float

August 8 2012, 1:49 PM

Spa treatments are often about feeling grounded. Not so, during a float treatment at A New Spirit Wellness Center and Spa in the Highlands. The not-so-new treatment (it was developed in 1954) combines the relaxing benefits of a bath and meditation. During your 60-minute (or longer) treatment, you float in one foot of water that is precisely heated to match the surface temperature of your skin (about 93 degrees). Eight hundred pounds—yes, you read that correctly—of Epson salt is diluted in the water to help you float.

During my first float, I stared at the white, coffin-like structure before me at A New Spirit. The receptionist showed me how to open and close the sliding door and said she would knock on the tank after my hour was up. Then she left me to it. There was nothing else to do, so I de-robed, slid open the entrance, and stepped into my new world.

In my first few minutes in the tank, I dealt with my anxiety the best I could. I opened and closed the sliding door five times. There was no way I could get trapped. Then I lay down in the warm salt water and floated to the top like a cork.

The tank was pitch black, which I found comforting. Little scratches on my body burned from the salt, but I soon adjusted. With my ears submerged in water, I heard little, besides the gentle music from the underwater speakers. The tank lowers the electrical activity of the brain from the typical 20 to 25 hertz to four to eight hertz. This is the optimal level for complete relaxation and creativity according to A New Spirit's float guide. I closed my eyes and focused on my breath.

A knock on the tank brought me from my timeless trance. I knocked back in confirmation and climbed out. I squinted in the dimly lit room, but felt fresh and more clear-headed than I'd been in some time. Verdict? I'll be back.

TRY IT: A New Spirit Wellness Center and Spa (4907 W. 29th Ave.; 303-477-1652) is one of the few float centers in the area, so make sure you book your appointment in advance (float between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and pay only $25 for the first hour). 

—Image Courtesy of A New Era Wellness Center and Spa