This week we bring you an altogether different way to sweat: Reboot Float Spa brings all the health benefits and self-exploration of yoga without the work—imagine an hour of floating savasana.
Recently opened in the Marina, Reboot Float Spa offers four state-of-the-art sensory deprivation tanks, or pods, filled with water highly concentrated with Epson salts, allowing you to float for one hour in virtual weightlessness, in a variety of positions. Kept at 94 degrees, the water never feels cold or hot, so you may have trouble being able to pinpoint exactly where the water ends and your body begins. So what’s the purpose?
“Deep relaxation, pain relief, and better sleep are some of the biggest benefits,” explains the spa’s owner Michael Garrett, who is among the proponents who believe floating may also aid with the prevention of cardiovascular disease, regulation of high blood pressure, and detoxification. “But I also use it as a meditation hack and a blank canvas to think about things,” he says, citing how floating causes a release of neck tension and decompression of the spine that can lead to a euphoric and deeply meditative state. “There are a lot of synergistic benefits that put you in a state we call the ‘post-float glow,’ which is a calm, centered lucidity, as well as a kind of body-high that comes from basking in stillness.”
Garrett’s quest to bring floating to San Francisco began with an education from comedian Joe Rogan. “He raved about how awesome it was, so I had to try it. After one session, I was completely hooked.” A couple years later, Garrett decided to build his own tank, a move that sent him down the floating rabbit hole.
As a first-time floater, I worried that being still for a solid, solitary hour would be a challenge for my busy mind. And while the scent of lavender immediately sets the tone of your standard relaxing spa, an introductory video on mini tablets makes it clear this is no traditional retreat. And to tell the truth, I was a little nervous.
“A lot of people worry about claustrophobia or being alone in silence, but our pods are really big, have lighting that you control, soothing audio that eases you in and out of the float, and you can float with the lid open,” Michael reassures.
When preparing for your float, skip the wax or shave (remember that old saying about pouring salt in wounds?); go pee first; and forget about a swimsuit lest your bikini become a salt lick. Despite there being a communal area with hair products and a blow dryer, we were shown to our individual pods, each in a private room with a shower and changing area. Instructions are posted on the wall of each room so you can’t mess it up.
Garrett and his team have thought of everything: Vaseline for cuts and scrapes; iPhone docks (listen to the in-house playlist or cue up your own); and disposable wax earplugs. A Nekdoodle pillow is provided, along with drinking water and a towel in case you touch your face or eyes. Really, all you have to do is relax and float.
While my fiancé successfully fell asleep during his float, my curiosity prevailed for the first 10 minutes. I pushed myself gently from edge to edge, enjoying the sensation of moving weightlessly. I dipped my toes under the water with resistance to feel the bottom of the pod. And yes, I touched my finger to my tongue. Surprise, it’s salty! Once I had successfully explored my pod, I turned off the light (while staying arms reach from the switch—let’s not be crazy) and let my mind wander. When the music came on indicating the float was nearing its end, I started to refocus on the real world. A quick shower and lots of lotion later, I emerged with my post-float glow, and felt rested. Bath time at home will forevermore be grossly underwhelming.
- Avoid caffeine and keep a light stomach prior to your float.
- Flip flops, towels, shower products, and blow dryers are provided.
- Plan to wear light color clothing post-float, especially if you have long hair that may hang on to salt .
Reboot Float Spa is located at 1912 Lombard Street. New customers are eligible for a "First-Float Special" for $49 or the "Intro 3-Pack" for $149. Discounted monthly membership packages are also available.