Sailing away at the True Rest Float Spa in Tempe … the Spa Girls review.
Imagine crawling into in a large, egg-shaped vessel and floating in salt water as you sink into a deep state of relaxation. No, you’re not in some existential dream or adrift at sea. You are at the True Rest Float Spa—an actual land destination in Tempe that buoys you with a full body massage (swim suit optional) without a therapist ever laying a hand on you.
The first time I visited the float spa, my boyfriend teased me, saying, “Just surrender to the experience.” I had no idea where he was taking me as a surprise for my birthday but he did say it “involves the body and just keep an open mind.” Of course, my mind darted to all sorts of interesting places. But after my initial float, I was quickly sold on the idea of being suspended in a tank full of water with 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt for an hour of total body weightlessness.
The float spa atmosphere is chill and low-lit, with salt lamps, a small lobby, waiting area where you can drink tea and partake in the oxygen-bar that serves flavored treatments, and all-sexes prep lounge to freshen up and dry you hair after a float. As first-timers floaters, you have to watch an educational video that among other things, teaches you that you won’t drown in the Jacuzzi-like float pod that resembles something from the set of Jurassic Park.
The individual float rooms—there are four—are ADA-equipped and include a shower with gel, shampoos and conditioner, and a personal area to store your belongings. You can bring your own towel or rent one. The door to the private suite automatically locks so privacy is not a problem. It’s highly recommended that you don’t shave the day of your float—for obvious reasons. The attendant made sure I was comfortable with the protocol and then I was left to float. Once inside the pod, I closed the lid (though you don’t have to), put in the ear plugs provided and stretched out full-body in the water, which is shin deep. And then I popped up like an inflatable boat to begin my float session.
After closing the lid, soothing instrumental music starts to play for about 10 minutes into your one-hour session. You can adjust the light on/off via a button inside the pod and if you need assistance, you can hit another button to alert the staff. Music also starts to play as you near the end of your float to signal it’s almost time to get out of the pod. During the instructional video, you’re encouraged to concentrate on breathing to help you sink (no pun intended) into relaxation. The idea behind floatation therapy is that a zero-gravity environment can help reduce strain, tension and pain—even improve sleep–so that the mind and body truly rest.
It works. Within five minutes of floating, I began to unwind and started to feel my muscles and mind loosen. While I didn’t “go under” I did find myself letting go for nearly an hour, which was followed by a tremendous amount of relief from neck and hip pain. And the slight concern I felt being claustrophobic in the pod quickly evaporated as I sailed away (though if you have an aversion to closed spaces, this might not be the place for you). I’m a big fan of massages—the kind where a therapist actually makes body contact—but I can honestly say that floating to my own devices in a sea of tranquility is just as therapeutic.