Float your pain away at Plaza Midwood’s newest spa experience

Photo by DeAnna Taylor Pictured: Flotation pod

Imagine laying in a small pod filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt and 10 inches of water for an hour. Now, imagine being in that same pod and your body floating on the water as you drift into a deep state of relaxation while increasing brain sharpness and relieving your body’s aches and pains.

While it sounds like something straight from the future, this spa experience can be found right here in Charlotte.

Mike Shoniker and Doug Centola recently opened the city’s first True REST flotation spa, and it is definitely something that you will want to try.

“As long-time friends, both having an entrepreneur mindset, Doug and I have always talked about opening a business,” Mike Shoniker, co-owner of True Rest Charlotte, told CharlotteFive.

Shoniker was introduced to the form of therapy from an interview with Charlotte’s own Steph Curry on ESPN. Curry mentioned how he is a fan of flotation therapy and that it has contributed to his success on the basketball court.

“After hearing about it and trying it ourselves, we developed a passion for it. We knew that opening a float spa was the perfect business opportunity that we had been searching for.”

Photo by DeAnna Taylor

Benefits of flotation therapy

While it can take a few sessions to truly feel the effects, the benefits are worth giving it a shot.

Due to the buoyancy of the salt water mix, your body floats without effort. It is recommended that you float for at least one hour, with some customers staying in up to two and a half hours.

The session is designed to put your brain into a slower theta wave state, causing you to go into a deep state of relaxation.

“We like to say it’s like being in between your dreams and reality,” float consultant Bon Flores said.

According to the introduction video that must be watched by first-time floaters, a person can see a 40-50% decrease in pain after just one float. In addition to alleviating pain, flotation therapy is said to reduce blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and produce feelings of euphoria and calmness.

Their guidelines say customers should aim to float at least once a week for a few weeks. For athletes, that can be increased to every other day.

“It truly is a cumulative process, and we now understand why it’s referred to as a practice similar to yoga or meditation. You get out of it what you put into it, and the more you float, the more you gain,” Shoniker explained.

First-hand float experience

Photo by DeAnna Taylor

As a first-time floater at True REST recently, I was given a quick tour of the spa and then led to a room to watch the short introduction video on what to expect.

Flores, my floatation consultant, then walked me to my private room complete with a shower and my pod. The room had towels and earplugs, as well as body wash and shampoo.

Just down the hall was another changing area that offered hair dryers, deodorant, lotion and other items to streamline the experience.

You can float wearing a swimsuit, or au natural if that is your preference, and you are required to take a shower before entering the pod.

Once you enter the pod, you will drift off to the sounds of calming elevator music that plays for the first 10 minutes of your session. You can choose to close the lid of your pod for the full effect, or your can leave it open if you are more claustrophobic. Inside, there is a button to communicate with your float consultant should any issues arise or if you need a little coaching.

You can also customize the lights inside your pod to any color you choose, or you can remain in complete darkness.

The first 20 minutes or so, I was constantly asking myself am I really supposed to do this for one hour? That seems so long. It takes some getting used to and realizing that the whole point is to be still and let your mind and body relax.

After finally getting in a comfortable position, I drifted off.

I was awakened by the sound of music again to signal that I had 5 minutes left in my session, which is also a sign to start waking up and moving your body a little. The time flew by once I drifted off.

Overall, I will say that I did feel calmer for the rest of the day. My ongoing shoulder pain was temporarily relieved, but I also understand that I would need regular sessions to see if it decreases.

Post-float, you have the option to relax a little at the flavored oxygen bar while sipping hot tea or water.

Would I try it again? Yes, especially after knowing what to do.

True REST is open Mondays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. It is best to schedule your session online.


906 Pecan Ave.
Instagram: @truerestcharlotte


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