The Float Spa offers a different holistic health care approach


Gaby Velasquez

Robert and Crystal Acosta opened Float Spa on November of 2017.

Elenie Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

Imagine being locked in a tank, floating in water, in complete darkness and your brain cannot tell whether your eyes are open or not, and you hear no noise except the own thoughts in your head.

This is what it is like to be in a state of total relaxation. This is what The Float Spa offers to its clients.

The Float Spa is the first spa in El Paso to offer the experience of an isolation tank, also known as a sensory deprivation tank. The tank is filled with one foot of water and 1,500 pounds of pharmacy-grade magnesium sulfate, which allows the body to effortlessly float.

Floating is a type of therapy called R.E.S.T. (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy).

Benefits of floating include reducing inflammatory pain, improving quality of sleep, reducing stress, increasing the feeling of euphoria (endorphins), and many more.

“The concept behind floating is zero sound, zero light and zero gravity. You go into the tank and float like a cork in water,” said Robert Acosta, co-owner of the spa. “What happens within the five minutes of being in the tank with no sound or no light, is the regions in the brain that are responsible for interpreting all the external data such as auditory, visual and sensory, are completely shut off, which then allows other parts of the brain to be activated and those are usually the regions that are subtly used by people.”

Robert and Crystal Acosta, owners and operators of The Float Spa, had their own experience with floating about eight years ago after hearing about it through friends. They decided to drive up to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to try it and fell in love with the practice. And as avid travelers, they made sure to find a float center any new city they visited.

There are both physical and mental benefits to floating. The purpose is to heal the body using a holistic approach.

Physically, the body is able to absorb the magnesium sulfate, which, according to Robert, has been clinically proven to help with joint pain, swelling and inflammation. He also says that because there is no tension or stress on the body or the joints, and it allows people who suffer from any type of body aches, soreness, chronic pain or anything related to discomfort in the body to fully relax because there is no gravitational pull.

“Mentally, because the water is heated up to your body temperature, your brain loses the ability to tell where your body ends and where the water begins, so you basically dilute into the water,” Robert said.

Both Robert and Crystal are registered nurses, who graduated from UTEP in 2010 and 2011 respectively, they have a passion for the health field and enjoy sharing it with others.

The couple continues to work their day jobs while taking care of the business, so they find it important to also focus on themselves and their health in order to keep up their active lifestyle. They enjoy keeping healthy by surrounding their activities around nature or practices that are organic such as hiking, running outdoors, doing yoga and meditation.

Floating was another practice they added to their routine when they built their own tank in 2015. They decided they wanted to share it with the community and The Float Spa was born.

They had some success at first, but decided to put the business on hold until they found a more ideal space. Two years later in the summer of 2017, they invested in a higher quality tank, built their new space and relaunched their business, which opened its doors in November.

Since then, The Float Spa has seen a small number of loyal clients. Gabe Fernandez, a graduate student at UTEP, said he enjoys visiting The Float Spa once every two weeks.

“Floating is like a reset button on your brain, like you recalibrate yourself. You spend so much time buried in thoughts. Meditation is a good tool for that, but you’re not completely at ease,” Fernandez said. “When you’re in a float tank, you’re weightless. You can’t see anything, you can’t hear anything.

Gaby Velasquez

“That’s been the only thing, one of the only things that’s been able to shake me out of a funk faster than anything else. It doesn’t matter if you’re having bad days and things don’t go your way, you float and everything is back to normal. It’s pretty amazing.”

Holistic health care has gained popularity as people have been finding ways for alternative medicine to heal whatever ailments they may have. Stepping into a sleep deprivation tank and experiencing a float session falls into that category.

It’s an approach to health care that treats the entire person, not simply symptoms and disease. Mind and body are integrated and inseparable.

“The neatest part about the tank is it allows you to have a really neat introspective experience because there’s no data that you have to be processing. It really allows you to be alone with your thoughts. So, while you’re doing that, your body is really getting the benefits of just lying in the water,” Robert said.

Their clients include people with carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritic pain, including fibromyalgia and even muscle aches after workouts such a CrossFit.

“Most of them come out saying they feel like a noodle or a sense of weightlessness. We even have clients that regularly take pain medication say that after the float, they can reduce the amount of pain medication they take or sometimes they don’t have to take it for a couple of days. The amount of magnesium sulfate helps reduce inflammation in the body,” Crystal said.

Floating benefits not only those with physical ailments or pains, but also people who suffer from anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and even addiction.

“In other cities, they’re using floatation for veterans with PTSD, people with anxiety and there is research going on related to that,” Crystal said.

The Acostas say their spa is tailored more to people who are more into mindfulness and to consciousness, and it’s an alternative remedy for both pain relief and other parts of the human experience.

They mentioned that people may have a difficult time at first because many people are not used to being alone with their own thoughts. The best thing to do, Robert says, is to come in with no expectations so they can get the best out of their session.

“Just come in here, have the mind that you’re going to lay down in some nice warm water and then just kind of let go,” he said. “And when you do that, that’s when the magic happens.”

Another service they offer is a sauna for a post-float session therapy, which also has its own benefits. They hope to expand and be able to offer massage therapy in the near future.

The Float Spa is located at 11436 Rojas Drive, Suite D-13. For more information on The Float Spa and the benefits to floating, visit