If you’ve ever had the desire to travel to space to experience the sensation of weightlessness, I’m here to tell you first hand, you don’t have to go to quite that far for that…you just have to spend an hour in utter darkness, floating in a pool of over 1,000 pounds of salt, in a space capsule sort of contraption, at a very chic little space on Cordova Street. There you’ll find the trendiest “self-care” cure for our stressed-out lifestyles – St. Augustine Salt Spa.
So what is a salt spa after all? While the trend is fairly new to St. Augustine, the concept of salt therapy is pretty ancient. Its history can be found deep in the Wieliczka Salt Mine of Poland, where owner Beata Kosakowska grew up. Her lifelong experience with and curiosity about salt therapy led her to finally bring the concept to St. Augustine.
But will you really experience weightlessness and is that the ultimate goal? Yes and no. On my visit, the claustrophobic side of me was a little trepidatious about being closed in the tank, but truly there was nothing to be concerned about. It’s huge. So, what do you do? You float. Why do you float for an hour in the dark in this thing? It’s two-fold – for subcutaneous absorption of the magnesium and the complete muscle relaxation you can only achieve by, well, floating. If you’ve ever put a cup of sea salt from Publix in your hot bath in hopes to find relaxation and detox… it’s like that times 1,000. And it’s not only weightlessness that you get but sensory deprivation too. It’s a complete disconnection from the business of this world.
The water is 94.5 degrees and at first touch feels warm, but as soon as they dim the lights and leave the room, the water becomes nearly imperceptible. You simply cannot feel it because your body temperature regulates to the same temperature as the water. While moving your limbs, you can’t even tell you’re in water anymore, because your mind loses the boundary between the water and your body. And don’t even be concerned about floating, because it’s impossible not to. In fact, in order to touch the bottom, I felt I had to forcefully press my leg down (for experiment’s sake).
After an hour, the lights in the capsule turns on, and your float is complete. After a necessary shower (you will be COVERED in salt if you don’t rinse off ), I spent some time in the Infrared Sauna and the Salt Cave to continue to let my mind and body decompress. Will I do it again? You bet. The relaxation I felt after was uniquely different compared to a massage – with a massage, you are relaxed but often groggy. With the isolation tank experience, I was relaxed but almost perky. I felt wide-eyed and genuinely overcome with a sense of happiness as I left. That may have been the salt’s doing or Beata’s hospitality, but probably a combination of both.