Do you sometimes miss being a zygote splashing around in the womb? Salt City Float Spa (7050 S. Highland Drive, Suite 220, Salt Lake City, 801-928-4600, SaltCityFloat.com) offers an isolation pod filled with warm, salty water that can help you return to your prenatal state, if that’s what you’re going for. Plus, you can release stress and aches and pains while pondering the deep questions of life. Spa owner Denielle Gates (above), recently filmed for an upcoming documentary on flotation therapy, says inner peace is all about giving the senses time to rest.
How is “flotation therapy” different from taking a hot bath with the lights out?
Floating is slightly different than your two-hour candlelit bath because it involves 1,200 pounds of medical-grade Epsom salt in water, heated to an exact skin temperature of 95.9 degrees, and an enclosed float pod that tricks the mind into thinking it’s floating in air. This allows every single square and round inch of your body to completely relax and let go—something it’s likely never done before.
Don’t people go slightly crazy when you put them into the pod and leave them alone for an hour?
Yes, which is why when they exit the pod looking spaced out, we think they’ve had a successful float! The most important part is “sensory deprivation,” which forces all the senses to take a much-needed lunch break. In our tank, you can have it dark and quiet or you can have lights and/or music—whatever you need to completely relax.
Why so much Epsom salt?
You have to have enough salt to create a solution in which the body can easily float. The core muscles—which almost never relax—must have enough buoyancy to be tricked into relaxing. This is only possible in a zero-gravity state: my pod or outer space. My pod is cheaper than a trip to Mars.
Does that much salt damage your hair and skin?
Epsom salt is actually über good for you. The magnesium, sodium and iodine are absorbed into the body. And when rinsed off, it leaves the skin feeling silky and smooth. Men love this part, too. Really.
Is there scientific study behind flotation therapy?
There is a whole world to discover about floating. It was first developed by physician John C. Lilly, who was also known for searching for ways to communicate with dolphins. Floating can help the body heal itself, but the self-discovery and meditation experienced while floating are unprecedented.
What is the No. 1 benefit of floating for you?
I used to love the fact that it would relieve my neck pain, and the urge to strangle anyone who cut me off while driving in my car. Now, I am starting to have my own lucid dreaming and astral projections. That’s an experience that will knock your socks off! I mean, I really knew floating was a good thing when I started this business, but I thought all those visualizations and out-of-body experiences were nutty. But it’s real, and it’s amazing.
What happens to your brain when you really relax?
You float into the fourth dimension, fly with unicorns and are instructed by the Buddha himself, given life’s most precious truths. Just kidding. But when the core muscles relax, the body releases endorphins, dopamine and other feel-good chemicals that the body uses to heal itself.
How do you keep the water clean?
As long as you leave Junior at home, the water’s perfectly safe. We have a 1 micron filter, which means it cleans the water down to a particle smaller than a human hair. It also filters three times in 15 minutes after each customer floats. Oh, and the health department—whom I’ve grown quite found of—pays me a monthly visit to ensure I meet their water standards. And you’re also talking to the only certified pool operator to operate a float tank in the state of Utah. Yes, I do take autographs.
Why or how does floatation therapy relieve chronic joint pain?
Let me clarify, floating relieves all pain. Because those core muscles are completely relaxed the instant you enter the pod, so your body quickly goes to work to start healing whatever it needs to: joint pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, you name it. We are putting our body into a place where it’s finally allowed to do whatever it wants: It wants to heal itself.
If it’s as wonderful as you say, people will want to rip out their hot tubs and replace them with a pod, right? How much does a pod cost?
It’ll cost you around $10,000-$15,000 for a reliable tank. So until then, come see me. I’ll take care of you.