Calm your running body and mind at ISÖ Spa

We all know what it’s like to float on water.

Whether it’s in a big bathtub, a pool or an ocean, that sensation of weightlessness is unique.

But aside from feeling pretty cool, floating can actually have tremendous benefits for your body and mind, and a new centre in Ottawa is floating that idea to runners, athletes and anyone else looking for a new way to relax.

ISÖ Spa opened in downtown Ottawa earlier this year and what they offer is known as flotation therapy.

What’s that involve? Entering a large egg-shaped sensory deprivation pod half-filled with warm water and around 1,200 pounds of Epsom salts, and shutting the door behind you.

And then you float.

No light or sound from outside enters the pod. By removing all external stimuli, along with the feeling of weightlessness from floating in the water, your body can enter a special state of relaxation.

It’s a state that can continue long after the session ends and studies have shown a whole range of benefits, including increased creativity, improved focus, and better performance in sports (basketball player and NBA MVP Stephen Curry is a big fan of floatation).

Co-owners Mika Husband and Jasson Grant think that runners in particular can benefit from a float session.

“When you’re floating in the pod, it really helps you learn to zone in and focus, similar to when you’re out there in the middle of a long run,” said Grant.

But aside from the mental benefits that come from entering a meditative state, some time in the pod can also help your body recover from training.

The Epsom salts in the water make your body float by increasing the density of the water, but the magnesium in the salts is also absorbed into the body. Magnesium plays a number of roles as a regulator in the body, helping reduce inflammation, improve muscle and nerve function, and prevent the hardening of the arteries.

ISÖ Spa offers sessions of 60 and 90 minutes, which can go by surprisingly fast once you achieve that calm state of relaxation.

What happens in those minutes is a bit difficult to describe, something Grant says he’s asked a lot.

“I do my best to describe it, but it’s something that really needs to be experienced first-hand. There are not a whole lot of equivalent experiences out there,” he said.

For those who meditate or do yoga, the experience of following the breath and relaxing will be familiar, but in a very different way.

For runners who are looking for a new way of getting into the zone and relaxing tired muscles, a little flotation therapy might be just the ticket.

For more information or to book a session, check out