Soaking in Salt: A new kind of spa

This past weekend we got the most amount of snow I’ve seen in Charlottesville all winter and not many were out on Saturday, but Michal’s four-wheel drive did well on the roads so we thought we’d try out a Living Social deal we found for a flotation center near the Downtown Mall.

Aqua Float is a totally different kind of spa or wellness center than Michal and I have ever visited – more focused on individual meditation and healing rather than a social experience we could share with each other and friends.  We spent 90 minutes in individual rooms within enclosed tanks, each boasting more than 800 pounds of saltwater with a little ambient lighting.

We took a tour of the facility before getting enclosed in our individual tanks.

When I first saw our individual tanks, they reminded me of that moment when Matt Damon woke up in the film Interstellar.

First impressions:

  • It looks like a space ship or a device from some sci-fi, futuristic film.
  • I need to be extra careful not to accidentally rub my eyes with salt as it will burn.
  • I will probably get bored, but this is supposed to be healing so I’m going with the flow.


  • I fell asleep half-way through and woke up with a start as it took me a minute to re-orient myself. I also started to feel a bit claustrophobic so I opened the lid of tank a bit.
  • I was incredibly thirsty – downing two water bottles immediately.
  • After showering off all the salt, my skin felt amazingly smooth and I was glowing.
  • When Michal and I met up in the lounge, we helped ourselves to complimentary fruit, lemon-infused water and tea while reading a few materials on the benefits of floating, as well as journaling/doodling. This time helped with extending the relaxation experience and alleviated my dehydration.
  • I felt a boost in my mood and energy level that lasted me through the day.

Would I do it again?

Probably not unless there is another LivingSocial deal – We paid $29 each for what normally costs $60 each. Also – the length of the session seemed a bit too long to me as I did get a bit stir-crazy in that tank.

However, I like finding unique, local spots like this and will now consider doing my Epsom salt baths at home as I love the way my skin feels afterward. This was also a very calming, restorative experience that I would recommend if you’re having a stressful or anxious week, as it truly helped me to quiet my mind.

Quotes from the website and brochures that stood out:

“Being a float tank is like relaxing in outer space.”

“Trust the water.” – relating to letting your head fall back and your neck relax, as that isn’t our natural inclination when in deep water (FYI – I prefer using the neck pillow for extra support.)

“No pathogenic organisms can survive salt concentrations above 10 percent.” – helped in making me feel reassured that the water is clean, plus there is an intense filtration system and everything in the facility is spotless, well –maintained and soothing

Have you ever tried a floatation center or are you interested? The employees at the one we visited in Charlottesville told us the majority in the U.S. are out on the West Coast.