When the stresses of everyday life start to get too much, we may turn to such treatments as massage therapy, or maybe try meditation or yoga. Actually, we should be investing the time and effort to protect ourselves with these treatments and activities before stress gets overwhelming. An ounce of prevention and all that. Am I right? I was recently invited to try out a new, relaxing spa treatment here in Toronto at the Rest Nest Float Club . What is floating? Well, a little bit of heaven is my answer to that.
Floating is about eliminating sensory input to allow total relaxation. Alone in a private pod, within a private room, you float in 10 inches of water and dissolved magnesium salts. There is no sound, and there can be no light. The water is set at body temperature, so you even cease to feel that after a while. No inputs. No efforts. Total relaxation. Sensory deprivation in the best of ways.
The Rest Nest is a brand new location, extremely clean and comfortable, with lots of light and great atmosphere. There is reception and a seating area on the ground floor, with an attendant desk, lounge, lockers, and treatment rooms upstairs. Complimentary tea and water are provided and guests are encouraged to take the time to slowly ease back into their day after their float. There’s even free wi-fi! Rest Nest has three float pods, each in its own treatment room with a private shower. The treatment area is separated from the main room by a closed door to dampen sound, although each room is itself fairly soundproof. This experience is all about tranquility.
Now, I am claustrophobic, so I was initially hesitant to try this treatment. What would it be like in the pod? How hard is it to open? Will I feel trapped? The owner reassured me and suggested that I could always try with the pod open at first and then lower the lid when/if I felt comfortable doing so. I’m trying to test my limits lately (like wall climbing!) so I went for it. And it really wasn’t claustrophobic at all. The pods are quite large and I could sit up comfortably in them with plenty of room to spare. That tiny little opening under the lid doesn’t look like much, but it’s ample for air flow. The lid itself is easy to lift and lower with one hand so I never felt trapped.
The pod is filled with about 10 inches of extremely salt water. You will float with absolutely no difficulty. It feels very secure and comforting. You can choose to float in total darkness, or use one of the softly coloured light options, via a button inside. The pod is also outfitted with a spray bottle of unsalted water and a clean cloth, in case you get the salt in your eyes.The red button in the picture is a “panic” button, just in case you have a problem or start to freak out. It sends a signal to the attendant who will immediately come and check on you. They haven’t had anyone press that button yet though ??
How was my experience? I honestly loved it. I will say though that the first session felt a little strange and it wasn’t so easy to let myself relax. I had one moment of worry, not really panic, during my first visit. I had put the lid fully down after a few minutes, and that was fine. But then I turned out the lights. I felt wonderful, even opening my eyes to fully appreciate the complete darkness. And then I started to THINK. Wrong. This experience is about letting go and clearing your mind and relaxing. And when I started to think, I realised I no longer knew which way I was facing in the pod. Was I near the button for the light? What if I pushed the panic button instead? Could I find where to push up on the lid? All of these thoughts were pretty silly really, because I just had to sit up and feel the curve of the lid to orient myself. I was completely safe. I found the light, turned it on and enjoyed the rest of my session. On my second visit I was much more prepared, and I even managed to reach a sort of trance state in the pod, not quite asleep, but not quite awake either. And in total dark for the whole session.
Mentally, the float helped me to empty my mind and give up my stressors for at least a short time. Physically, the float eased my muscle aches, relaxed my body, and gave me an overall sense of well-being. I came out feeling fabulous, and the benefits lasted for days. Honestly, even looking at the image of the open pod above helps me to relax.
Bottom line – this one gets my strong recommendation. But promise me that if you try it, you won’t give up if you aren’t sold after your first float. The experience is so different than anything you’ve likely done before it does take a little adjusting. My first float was great, and I didn’t leave with a negative feeling at all, but it wasn’t all it could be. My second I was able to give in to the relaxation more easily and the experience was incredible.
The Rest Nest Float Club is located in the downtown neighbourhood of Yorkville, at 21 Yorkville Ave. There are numerous parking garages in the area, including one just down the block. On-street parking is available but extremely limited. The location does offer so many options for lunch or shopping before or after your treatment, so make a day of it if you can. Float sessions are 60 minutes long, and cost $100 per, or 3 sessions for $240. You can also buy a membership with one float each month at a cost of $80 monthly. So the costs are about the same as a massage.
Keep in touch with Rest Nest on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Happy floating!!
Disclosure: I received complimentary treatments to facilitate this review. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.