Right before my seasonal stress peaked, I had the opportunity to check out one of the cities newly prized float spas, Metta Rest Spa, and see how it would help me through my last hurdle. Not knowing much about the floating world, I was definitely anxious going into the float pod. The idea of no light and no sound in a small pool of highly Epsom salted water had my phobias a little more alert, but I will assure you however that after the experience, I am converted.

Service industry friends can relate to my desire to slow down on days off, or take the time to do the things we want to do outside of the drinks and the late nights. Over the course of my experience in this industry, I value my alone time. I value silence and meditation for its benefits of channeling my thoughts and protecting my energy as it is often pushed to its boundaries. As soon as I met with Kimberly, one of the spa’s founders (along with Chris and Nicole), I knew that I was going to be inspired.

Once I arrived to Metta, it took me a minute to absorb the serenity of the environment. I was only in the lobby, but the music and the staff were so calm. Kimberly met with me  first to show me around, and I immediately felt silly for calling her 20 minutes earlier with a sense of panic in my voice that I was running late to my appointment.

I exchanged my shoes for some slip-on’s as we toured around the location. Metta is equipped with wheelchair access, private float therapy rooms stocked with high quality shower products, a yoga sanctuary, a far-infrared sauna, and my favorite, a library! Chatting over some tea courtesy of local brand Neverland Tea, in the library before my float session, Kimberly introduced me to Nicole, who then opened up about Metta’s history, and flotation REST.


Opening up about three months ago, Metta has brought an all around relaxation experience filled with a sense of community. Chris was the first of the three founders to try floating, and was immediately hooked, urging Kimberly and Nicole to try as soon as they could. Former yogis and students in the film sector, they knew that they had to provide flotation REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulus Therapy) to Vancouver. Shortly after, they spent their next year researching, traveling, and building Metta. The float pods that they decided to go with are Float SPA, a pod that derives from Budapest. They are self-draining after each float, which are then sanitized, and then go through a high tech water filtration process.

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As far as the use of flotation REST and the benefits of floating, they seem to be quite infinite to the every-day, overstimulated Vancouverite. I was surprised to learn that the use of flotation was discovered as a form of therapy in the 1950’s by Dr. John C. Lilly. As hypothesized, the benefits of floating were tremendous. Introduced to NASA at this time , as well as later researched in our own UBC by Dr. Peter Suedfeld in the 80’s, flotation REST showed much potential for the spa market. Unfortunately, a stall of research and the AIDS scare in the 80’s factored into the fizzle of float spas. Now with much more advanced sanitation technology and experience in the benefits of floating, float spas have made a booming comeback in Vancouver, to the point that this could soon become a therapy that is in health benefits packages. The list of benefits will hopefully assure you in your first float:

  • Balances brain hemispheres, ignites creativity
  • Enhances cortical theta state (the subconscious, meditative state, motionless but alert)
  • Awakens memories
  • Retaining information better (ie. learning a language, enhancing memory)
  • 1 hour of flotation rest = 4-6 hours of deep sleep
  • Rids hangovers (!!)
  • Rids jetlag
  • Relieves pain
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Reduction in anxiety

Everyone’s float will have slightly different results, so it’s important to go in there with intentions for yourself, and with the new year just rung in, its perfect. My float was such a cool experience once I got comfortable with the way of the pod (yes I went in naked). For your first few minutes in the pod, there is soothing lighting and nature music to help get you in the zone. It was pretty, and I felt super relaxed already. Once the light and the music faded away, I was forced to deal with my silly fears of the pitch black dark. I was thinking about how my body felt though, sort of fighting with the buoyant water, I felt like I was infinite in space. It was a feeling my body had never felt, but it assured my mind that all was calm. Again, I was forced to just be there. Let myself be with the water, let it nurture me in balance. I was opened to taking a leap of faith into my meditation, to explore the unknown and to be content with that. There was that familiar feeling Kimberly was talking to me about being in the womb again. There was that sense of comfort and home that I could yet venture out as far as I wanted to.

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You lose concern of the matter you once associated an importance with. Once you’re able to tap into that theta state, the relaxation and the peace flows in. When my session ended, I realized I could have easily stayed in for more time. Since it was my first float I know I spent some time trying to adjust to RESTing. The sense of calm in my energy and my surroundings proved positive. I would suggest going a few times so you can really get a feel for what REST is truly about for you, but it is a think tank, a therapy, a comfy bed, and a rebirth all wrapped in an antibacterial acrylic shell.

I can’t wait to get my float on again! Thanks to Metta and all of their staff who made me feel at home.

For more information on recharging your system, check out Metta Rest Spa’s website to book your float.

– Allison Hayes

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