Note: as per my legalese, this is an experience review, not a paid endorsement.

We have a perfectly good salty ocean RIGHT HERE to bob and float in, right? Well, yes… and it’s a blast to get in the water. But the thrill of pulling on a wetsuit to dive through waves in the cold Monterey Bay is almost the opposite of the the zen-like experience you’ll find at a float spa. Imagine bobbing on warm, heavily salted water just like a by-the-wind-sailor. Dozing in a salty pitch-black womb. Releasing all of your muscles and tension tension into the water. Treating yourself to 60 or 90 minutes to undress, unplug, and unwind. Get lost in your thoughts, or just doze. And doing this inside a futuristic egg-shaped pod. Whether it’s life-changing or just life-enhancing, it’s all good.

Say good-bye to tension

I had my first float spa experience at Sage Float Spa on 41st Avenue in Capitola. My massage therapist recommended it; she loves the place thought it would be just the thing to help let go of some of the tension I keep in my mid-back. I hemmed and hawed because I was imagining a coffin-type of forced sensory deprivation experience, but when I saw a photo in an ad, I realized that’s not the case at all. So I booked online in the morning and chose one of their $39 Happy Hour spots. (A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, happy hour meant spending $1.50 for gin and tonics to eat the free bar buffet  – they used to have those – for my dinner. Things change.)

She was right. I emerged from my salty cocoon feeling deeply rested, unwound, and centered. It was subtle. There weren’t fireworks, not for me, but I was relaxed and at peace in a way that you only find after a good night’s sleep or an excellent yoga class. It did feel good for my back as well as for my busy brain.

Know before you go

I definitely recommend you treat yourself to a float spa experience sometime. And to help nudge you along, here are the answers to some of the things you’re wondering about:White paper with black instructions on how to flowt

  • The float spas are giant eggs about 6 -1/2 feet long and just under 5 feet at the widest part. The water is 12-18” deep and is saturated with a full 900 pounds of Epsom salt!
  • If you’re worried about getting claustrophobic, and I was, you can just leave the pod hatch open. Worried about the dark? Leave the light on. It’s your experience, and you can fashion it any way that’s the most comfortable to you.
  • Each float spa is in a private room with a shower. It looks and feels very, very clean. The rooms are equipped with a fresh towel, a new pair of earplugs, and small unopened packets of Vaseline. The shower stall has liquid soap, shampoo, and conditioner.
  • It’s important that you’re scrupulously clean before entering the float pod. You’ll be instructed to disrobe, insert the ear plugs and soap up and wash your hair. The Vaseline is provided to cover any abrasions or sensitive body parts. (Yes, use it there. You’ll be much more comfortable.)
  • You’ll move straight from the shower to the pod. Knees down, close the hatch if you want to, and start relaxing. I recommend using one of the neck pillows provided. With it, I was able to move my head back and forth on it and not worry about splashing water in my eyes. But just in case you do, there’s a spray bottle of fresh water and a clean washcloth in the pod.
  • You can turn the lights on or off in the pod. Honestly, you’ll be much more comfortable with the lights off.
  • The water is nice and warm but not hot. Just about at the point where you feel it cooling down, a heater kicks on and it starts warming up again. Keeping the hatch closed helps keep the heat in as well; about halfway through your time you may start feeling a little cooler on the top of your body if you leave it open.

After your float

  • There is a signal when your float time is up. When that happens, just reverse the process. Make your way to the shower, soap up again to remove all the salt, rinse and condition your hair. Take the earplugs out after you are completely rinsed off. I recommend you leave the conditioner in until you go home and rinse it for a deeper moisturizing effect. The salt is very drying.
  • Don’t forget to bring a brush or comb.

Make yourself a cup of herbal tea in the lounge after your float, and, if you like, share your thoughts about your experience on the whiteboard.

Whiteboard with multi-colored words of praise

Other float spas in the Monterey Bay area:

Equilibrium Float Spa in Santa Cruz on Seabright


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