Floating to my heart beat in Vienna
I have had a few floating sessions before, mostly in larger pools in public thermal spas or hotel spas, and have never really experienced such profound relaxation that I have had unexpectedly in the bustling city centre of Vienna’s 6th district. This is Wellness in Austria at its best!
time out Spa is located in the basement of small time out City Hotel Vienna, right between shopping mile ‘Mariahilfstrasse’ and ‘Naschmarkt’.
The unpretentious Spa is run by Doris, a former athlete with a couple of gold medals for national championships.
Doris performs all treatments herself and offers a variety of therapies such as Nuad, Reiki, Ayurvedic treatments, hot stone, foot reflexology, and different body massages.
The salt content of the water is high, making floating effortless and natural
Yet the highlight is certainly the floating session, which Doris offers in a very private setting: the small windowless room provides a cosy and private atmosphere.
Doris talks me through the procedure whilst the large tub is being filled up, every guest gets their own fresh water fill.
I learn that the salt content of the water is high – similar to the Dead Sea -, making floating effortless and natural.
The water temperature is just slightly below body temperature, hence not stressing blood circulation. Besides Doris sets the lighting to my liking, I have several colours to choose from and go for warming red.
The story of floating started in the 1950’s, when scientist and neurophysiologist Dr. Lilly started experimenting with the reduction of sensory perception. Lilly wanted to prove, that lack of sensory perception due to isolation triggers the brain into a sleeping state.
He found out, that the brain not simply ‘falls asleep’, yet keeps functioning on a higher level. Due to a short term isolation from sensory impulses, different frequency areas are being stimulated in the brain, similar to meditation. Besides, apparently about 90% of the activities of the central nervous system are being used up by gravity. So weightlessness through floating releases energies.
Doris leaves the room and I step into the tub, taking a few minutes to familiarise myself with the facility and getting used to the floating. Although my body is totally afloat without strengths, I prefer to use one of the provided props to support my neck.
a time to be grateful
At first, I observe the different sounds that all come from me myself. The room as such is secluded, no sounds from the outside penetrate. As there is no music or water splashing when laying still, I can focus on listening to my heart beat.
This is a moment where I realise how little I listen to my heart beat in my every day life, although it is always there, beating and beating and beating reliably, maybe it is time to say thank you to my heart…
Another prominent sound is my blood flow, which I can hear and feel in my ears. It reminds me of the ultra sounds during pregnancy, a calming sound that I have not heard in a long time.
I drift between wake and sleep
Once in a while I can hear my stomach (or maybe other intestines) making funny squeaky noises, nothing alarming though.
It does not take me long to fall asleep. I wake up occasionally, drifting between wake and sleep with very little thoughts in my head, whilst floating to my heartbeat.
After some time, I have completely lost conscience about time and place, my body feels totally weightless – I have conquered gravity!
When the scheduled hour has passed, Doris gently knocks on the door and I come back to reality in no time, feeling awake, energised and strong immediately. I rinse off in the shower and proceed outside, where Doris has prepared a massage table to treat me with her skilful hands. What a perfect way of ending the floating session!
After the massage, Doris translates to me the body tensions she has discovered during the massage and makes a few suggestions as to exercises and behaviour back home.
I am so happy it is not all over just yet, as I am now made comfortable on the “sha alpha bed”. Accompanied by sounds and vibrations, I can rest for almost half an hour, simply by lying comfortable and listening to sounds and music, that are almost shamanic. The great advantage of this bed is, that it can be used fully dressed, making it the ideal manager’s lunch-break relaxation, without previous knowledge or practise.
Do you remember my post Paradise in the Sun where I experienced a similar bed?
a true time-out experience in the centre of Vienna
time out Spa is ideal for those who wish for a true time-out in the centre of Vienna. The facility is simple, unpretentious and clean. Doris is very caring and skilled. And if you do not have the time to experience all 3 components, there is always the option of going for only one or two at the time. As time out Spa can host two people at the same time, try it out with your best friend!
Best to get there by foot, bike or public transport. If you need to travel by car, park in the Windmuehl-Parking Garage, which is only a 2 minute walk from time out Spa.
I am not yet familiar with Vienna, but starting to love the city, Wellness Österreich rocks!