A couple years ago a friend of mine was raving about her experience with floating. I remember looking it up and thinking, “Well, that sounds interesting. This water soul would love to go float.” But upon reading the words “sensory deprivation” and discovering they were sort of rare anyway, I pretty much put the thought out of my mind. Boring, not worth the trouble.
Then another friend reached out to me knowing I was into all sorts of meditation, alternative health options, and all that jazz. She had been approached by a new float spa in our area to come out and do a review, but she wanted to know what others thought of it that had more experience. And well, I didn’t. I was at least able to share my other friend’s experience, but now I really felt like I was missing out.
So you can imagine my excitement when that friend reached out with an invitation from the spa owners to come try it out myself. I’m not a review blogger and I never want to be a review blogger. It’s not my thing. But if you love Feather & Wild and everything we stand for, there’s a pretty good chance that you also love meditation and healing/therapy options that don’t include a little orange bottle. And if I can share a new option with you, you can bet I’m going to—knowledge is power after all.*
And if I’m being totally honest, the owners’ story of how they came to run this float spa is definitely a Do It Scared story. And you know I’m a sucker for anyone getting out of their comfort zone and accomplishing amazing shit, right?!
So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of why I think you’ll love Floating.
- It’s an hour of quiet, ya’ll! – Remember that “sensory deprivation” thing I mentioned earlier? Well, you absolutely can do that if it’s your thing. Each of the pods is equipped with lights and sound that are totally up to you. For many, they get the best results from no sound and no light. The standard for True Rest is to do 10 minutes of calming music to ease you in and another 5 minutes at the end to give you a signal that your time is always up. It worked perfectly for me on my first float, but I’m dying to take a guided meditation with me next time; perhaps some yoga Nidra. Each suite at True Rest Detroit has its own place to plug your phone in so you can play whatever you want while you float. (Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs apparently likes to listen to John Mayer Radio on Spotify while he floats—yeah, the Cubs put one of these in their new facility at Wrigley.)
- You float. – If you’re a water soul like me, this is all you need to know. But I heard concerns from people that they simply wouldn’t float, or it would be too much work to keep floating for an hour. But that’s the beauty of the float pods. The water is mixed with massive amounts of Epsom salt so that it creates a solution that allows you to float effortlessly. There are just 10 inches of water in the pod, and you have something of an antigravity situation going on once you’re in there. Now, think what that is doing for your musculoskeletal system! It takes all of the pressure off every joint in your body. There isn’t a single pressure point on your body and it allows your spine to elongate and straighten and all of your tension to drain away. If you’re like me and carry a lot of tension in your neck, there’s a halo in each pod that you can place under your head to allow you to relax that even further. This weightlessness actually triggers the same process that sleep does in your body which allows your muscles to start repairing themselves and draining the lactic acid from your muscles. (And now we know why this is so big with athletes! Hello, reduced recovery times!)
- It’s a giant Epsom salt bath. – Ah, I could write about the benefits of this in-depth, but I’ll try to keep it short for you today. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate and are pretty essential to natural health. Basically, it comes down to the fact that we’re all pretty deficient in magnesium these days. Epsom salt baths are a great way to absorb lots and lots of magnesium through our skin, and the float spa mix is way more concentrated than you’re ever going to get with bath salts at home. And then sulfate is a master detoxifier. So, good stuff in, bad stuff out. Oh, and word to the wise, there is a small thing of vaseline in there–if you have open cuts or scrapes, be sure to put it on. I forgot! Thankfully the earplugs protected my new daith piercing, but I had some cuts on my hands and they did burn for a bit. It wasn’t terrible and stopped after a few minutes, but it was an unwelcome distraction as I tried to settle in.
So, we’ve got meditative quiet time, pain relief, and some major detoxification going on. And you’ll find that floating anywhere with great pods, but pay attention to where you’re choosing to float because the experience outside of the pod can have a profound impact on your experience inside of the pod. You’ll find the occasional one-off pod run by someone, or a day spa or massage place with a pod or two as complimentary services. They’ll do in a pinch, but if you can find a place that is an actual Float Spa, go there!
My experience at True Rest Detroit was amazing. They have their Oasis room which has comfy seating, a totally zen vibe and is totally meant to take care of you. From the soft waterfall in the background to the low lighting, you’re encouraged to show up early to your appointment and take the time to relax before your float. Herbal tea and detox water are available, there are coloring books if you’re into that, and even a Muse Meditation system. You’re also encouraged to use this room after your float so that you can slowly return to reality before leaving and going about your day. There are journals placed around the room where people took the time to write about their float experience and they are super fun to read!
The staff was amazingly friendly and the owners are full of passion for what they do. Once your appointment time approaches, if you’re a first-timer, there is a video to watch explaining what to expect, then you’re led on a quick tour, ending at one of their six private suites. Within the suite is a shower where you wash off before hopping in. Each suite is completely private and they encourage you to skip the swimsuit and float completely nude. (Worried about cleanliness? Read this.) Once your float is over, you hop back out and take another shower, be sure to use the conditioner this time. Get dressed and head over to the “after” room. I loved this little room. It has two vanities, blow dryers, huge mirrors, and just about everything you might need to get yourself put back together to go about the rest of your day. (Bring a brush or comb, it’s the only thing they don’t provide.). I was super thankful for the cotton swabs! And super bonus, they have yoga mats available, too! One of their amazing staff members, Janell, is a yoga instructor and is happy to spend a few moments with you working out any kinks you may have discovered while in the pod since you come out super aware of your body and where you hold tension. Never underestimate the power of having someone who can show you a few asanas to take home to work on keeping that tension from returning.
And they earned a place in my heart with their desire to help Veterans gain access to this complimentary therapy. On the 11th of every month, they reserve one of their suites for active duty and Veterans to come float for free. And you all know what support like that means to our family. (For more information on Floating and PTSD, head over to Time.com and read Float Hopes.)
I’d love to hear from you if you are already a regular floater, or if you decide to give it a try! I’m hooked after just one visit and Josh will be heading out to try it next month. The benefits I felt from just one session has me booking a monthly float and thinking it’s well worth the 45-minute drive. And I have a feeling that if you try it, you’ll fall in love with it, too.
True REST Float Spa | Detroit
30911 Orchard Lake Rd
Farmington Hills, MI 48334
*My float session at True Rest Detroit was provided in exchange for this review. But as always, all opinions are 100% mine.