This article was originally published on Localvore Today's The Daily Beet on September 25, 2015.
We’ve worked with Rahn, owner of the Satori Float Spa, for years now. Localvores eagerly await for the day the business hits their inbox, and we at the office have always wondered… what are they all doing over in those tanks? Well, it was time to find out for ourselves. Not to be illusive or myth-building, but the Satori Spa seems to be an experience not meant to be relatable. Here are our recounts, but we suggest you take your own trip…
The procedure was explained concisely and with care – I knew exactly what to do, just not what was going to happen.
Sort of the shape and apparent heft of a refrigerator turned on its side, the float tank holds a mixture of salt and water that allows a body to hover above the bottom of the basin in just a few inches of the solution. I donned the goggles and earplugs uniform to protect sensitive organs from salinity and slid into the chamber, pulling the door closed behind me.
Floating, all was quiet until I tilted my ears back into the water and could hear the music beneath the water. Drums and wind instruments played from below, making the cave-like experience feel all the more primordial-ooz-y. A shift of a finger or turn of my head led to echoing sounds of dripping water. Waving arms and legs, snow angel style, moved my body inches, but deprived of a sense of space, I could be a hundred yards downriver.
In a state of seemingly unsupported flotation, what muscles were tight and became quickly evident. Twisting and stretching, tiny movements were able to work out week-long knots and aches. It is the closest thing to experiencing complete muscle relaxation. It reminded me of pushing my arms against door jambs as a kid; you know, they would rise from your sides on their own accord when you stopped pushing. In the tank, your body just seems to bubble and fizz up to the surface.
I didn’t expect space travel. In fact, I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into Satori Float Spa, an unexpected haven in a jumble of commercial buildings and cement. The tanks dominate the space; they’re the size of my car, with clean, white lines.
I’d float later. First, I spent half an hour in the VibroSonic Mind Spa, on a massage table that vibrates to the pitch and rhythm of New Age music. Sound blocking headphones and synchronized light glasses worked in concert with each other, and the table, to disorienting effect. I was lulled by the gentle rumbling. Trippy music droned, and lights streaked past my eyelids. There’s no other way to say this: it was a lot like being in a spaceship. Ten minutes in, I could see it vividly. Twenty minutes in, I could steer the thing, my hands on the sides of the squishy table.
Devotees of VibroSonic treatment cite deep relaxation, and say the experience can simulate the effect of meditation on the brain. They appreciate its effect on stress and anxiety, and believe it can “balance the hemispheres of the brain.” I’m not a scientist, but I’m not much of a space-nerd, either. And I spent thirty blissful minutes piloting a purring little space craft, streaking past stars to a psychedelic soundtrack. Afterwards, steering my way up Shelburne road, I had a smile that would last for the rest of the day.
View more of Jen Smith's work here.