Written by Muriel Smith for TrueRest Float Spa ~
If you’ve heard about the Flotation Bath, wondered exactly what it is, or thought you’d never want to be wrapped up in a pod, do yourself a favor. Book a Float and see for yourself!
After seeing an ad on Jersey Shore Scene, my daughter gave me a gift certificate for a floatation bath at TrueRest at 990 Cedar Bridge Blvd. in Brick. I couldn’t wait to try it.
The facility is located in a strip mall that also includes Carrabba’s and Cold Stone Ice Cream, with plenty of parking and easy access. As directed, I arrived a half hour before my hour-long appointment. Scott, genial, affable, and enthusiastic, explained that would give me time to fill out papers, get a tour, and even see a short video that explains everything about the experience. I had already learned on the phone that TrueRest provides everything from ear plugs to towels to hair dryers, I would have my own private room and pod, and my choice of whether I opted for au naturel or a bathing suit. Nobody told me about the extra treat at the end of my pod float, so read on!
Paperwork is easy, the usual brief bio, liability waivers, and explanations care is necessary on my part to weigh in personal factors like hair dye….can’t go in within a few days of a treatment, or time of month periods that would make it both unhealthy and unsanitary to float.
The movie was brief and cute…. Cartoon characters showed that in floating you could bob your head or hands or feet against a side of the pod, there’s a light on all the time ( or off if you prefer) and music to start and finish this grand relaxation experience.
The tour was even more fascinating I was shown the bathroom’s location, a dressing room with large mirrors, combs, brushes (in antiseptics) hair dryers and more and then the doors leading into each of the pods.
For me, it was a huge and pleasant surprise to see my private room was large..plenty of room with a bench to sit to undress, hooks to hang my clothes, a walk-in shower with plenty of hot water complete with shampoo, soap and conditioner…a little basket with ear plugs, Q-tips, and linens…though because I like a huge wraparound towel, I did bring my own.
And then, right in that same big room, taking up one side of the room, was MY POD! It looked beautiful, a bit like a space missile, a kind-of pear-shaped piece of furniture sparkling white and clean, about seven feet long and perhaps five feet wide. I liked it even before I opened it!
Then I liked it even better! The water was, once again, sparkling clear, moving gently against the soft hued blue interior, an underwater light, a couple of buttons I could push to turn off the music or light, press for the front desk if I had any questions or needs,, and even a small bottle of fresh water in case I got some of the float water in my eyes.
The float water! It’s magnesium that makes you float! Epsom salts! Hundreds of pounds of it. Enough, in a mere ten inches of water, to ensure you cannot sink, even if you try. Nor can you swim..not that you’d want to. Actually, between the gentle movement of the water, the soft blue hues that are so relaxing, and the just right warm temperature of the water, all you really want to do is get in, lie down, and let your cares and worries float away
A shower before a float is a necessity, for sanitary purposes. It feels great to shower thoroughly, not dry off and simply hop into the pod.
Yes, there’s a top to the pod, and yes you close down over you. But there’s plenty of room between the ‘ceiling’ inside the pod and your face. For me, that, combined with the light and the gently moving water, eliminated any feeling of claustrophobia. Besides, I had been shown, I had complete control over opening and closing the pod, with the handle that lifts it right there for me to hold if I so desired.
It took me a couple of minutes to adjust, stepping over the high side of the pod, getting into a sitting position to make it easier to simply stretch back and lie down. Yes, I used ear plugs and yes, I took advantage of the donut-shaped ring behind my head to make it easier to stretch out and keep my face out of the water.
Once lying down, it was thrilling. Relaxing, yes, but thrilling as well. Here I was, an octogenarian, all 170 pounds of me, and I was lying in a giant pod with my arms stretched out, my body relaxed…and I was FLOATING! Just lying there half in and half out of the water, in a safe and private area all by myself. I could still hear the pump on the water circulating to ensure its cleanliness and knew it would be stopping soon. The music came on gently as I got used to feeling like I was in space and stretched both my legs and arms to see if I could touch all sides at one time….my 5’4” couldn’t, but came close enough to make me still feel like I was in a giant, protective cocoon..
As I adjusted, I sensed more than heard the circulation stop, the music gently faded away, and relaxation set in big time. Once the music was gone, it was totally quiet…peaceful and quiet. A time to unwind, put thoughts to the side, simply concentrate on feeling great.
When my mind wouldn’t stop working in spite of my totally relaxed state, I tried to think of what I felt like. A lily pad, I decided. A big lily pad being gently swayed in a beautiful pool. Monet’s Water Lilies came to mind and as I concentrated on that beautiful painting, I sensed my head was turning off thoughts, worries, or plans for what I was going to do next. I was totally relaxed! I was a lily pad!
Perhaps five minutes before the hour is up, the music comes on again, once more, gently, softly, gradually getting louder…no blasting you out of reverie, just gently reminding you it’s almost time to get up, get out, shower again, get dressed and leave my private room.
A friend who had taken frequent floats told me she did it because it made her body feel so soft she “couldn’t stop hugging myself.” She was absolutely right! There is a natural residue on your body left from the salt in the water, but even after a shower to cleanse it all away, your body feels soft and yes, like you want to hug yourself! And I don’t know why, but your skin isn’t wrinkled in spite of being submerged in water for an hour!
Once dressed, I headed to the salon room to use their mirrors and dryers and was then met by same friendly receptionist who had brought me in at the start. She led me to another room replete with comfortable chairs, footstools, books on everything from interpretation of dreams to travel and fashion, and a table set with water and hot herbal teas.
That’s when I got the next surprise! In addition to all these amenities, there was also an Oxygen bar, she explained. What’s more, I had my choice of aromas I wanted for yes, even more relaxation.
I opted for eucalyptus since I wanted to be sure to be alert for my drive home, but I could have also selected vanilla, lemongrass, lavender, or more. The assistant handed me a cannula to insert in my nostrils, inserted the other end of the tube in the herbal bottle, handed me a cup of tea, and left me for another ten minutes of relaxation, breathing in beautiful aromas, and coming back down to earth. A must, I advise, in order to take full advantage of that hour of relaxation before facing the world once again.
My assessment of the experience? I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Israel and go in the Dead Sea. I know what it was like to float with dozens of other people in heavily salted water in a huge area. I remember the feel of the mud as I walked through the shallow edge to lie back and float in the deeper water. I remember at the time wondering whether I’d be able to stand up enough or swim to get out, once I floated further from shore. None of that relaxed me.
TrueRest? A pod of my own? Privacy. Quiet. Someone to call if I got apprehensive. Hot showers, clean towels, antiseptic cleanliness all around.
It simply can’t be beat!
TrueRest has a $59 rate right now for an hour’s float, several packages which bring the cost down even more, and a spectacular tribute to our military that makes it worth supporting for that generous gesture alone. On the 11th of each month….probably because the 11th of November is Veterans Day….all veterans with proper military are invited to take advantage of the program at no cost. I can only imagine…and appreciate…. the benefits that generates, especially for veterans with PTSD.