Rest and Rejuvenation

Photo By Wes Kerrick

Michele Ray wasn’t particularly looking to start a business, but two innovations found her.

Both inventions have the same goal: rejuvenating your body and mind from the toll of a hectic life. One of them involves sweating profusely for 40 minutes. A step up from a traditional steam sauna, an infrared sauna raises your core body temperature three degrees.

The other involves doing nothing for an hour except lying on your back on a 220-gallon pool of Epsom salt-rich water. Flotation therapy, it’s called. Ray says when you spend an hour floating, you give your body the equivalent of four hours of sleep.

“You almost forget where you are.” Ray describes

Last November, Ray and her husband, Stuart, opened Acqua Wellness at 10517 Fischer Park Drive, a place of sanctuary in the middle of the hubbub of the Springhurst Towne Center. There are two floatation pods and four infrared saunas, operated by a knowledgeable and courteous six-member staff.

Ray’s interest in infrared saunas was piqued while flipping through magazines. “All the celebrities were talking about their new favorite thing to do,” she recalls.

Jennifer Aniston, Lady Gaga and others were singing the praises of infrared saunas.

“I just thought to myself: ‘That would be an interesting, unique and new. t’s kind of a craze in big cities.’”

She started researching infrared saunas and floatation therapy.

“My husband and I thought it would be something unique to bring to the community. There are so many health benefits – I mean, for everybody. It covers everyone.”

Unlike a regular sauna, which is steamy, an infrared sauna warms your body directly, with just 20 percent of the heat warming the air around you. It feels more like a summer day in Arizona than one in Kentucky.

As your core temperature rises, the heat stimulates your lymphatic system, immune system and cardiovascular system. You sweat like crazy, and that helps you detox and purifies your skin.

“Your body feels like you’ve done a workout,” Ray says.

Indeed, you can burn as many as 600 calories just by sitting for 40 minutes in the sauna.

The two floatation pods at Acqua Wellness each have about 12 inches of water, warmed precisely to body temperature and laden with Epsom salt. The salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, is a mineral everyone needs, and it gives the water a buoyancy that makes you feel like you’re floating in space.

If you wish, you can close the lid of the float pod, shutting off the distractions of the world around you. Studies have found that the experience has a profound impact on the body and mind, helping you think more clearly and intensifying the acuteness of all your senses.

As you might expect, floating relieves stress and anxiety, and it can even reduce your blood pressure. Additionally, some people find it helps relieve their muscle or back pain, migraines, rheumatism or depression. It can also help with insomnia or jet lag.

Clients range from young to old, from overweight to athletic. The most important benefits of the experience are different for each person, and even vary for the same person when he or she floats again.

“It’s fun and interesting,” says Ray, “just to hear each person’s story as to what it’s doing for them.”

A single floatation session is $65. New customers can get a two-session package for $97.50. Four-session packages are also available for $205. Or, you can become a member for $49, $145 or $279 per month, which will entitle you to one, three or six sessions per month, respectively.

For the sauna, you can get one session for $39, three for $90 or six for $150. Monthly membership is $85 (four sessions), $148 (eight) or $188 (12). VT

For more information, visit, call 502.550.3241 or email You can make an appointment online, by phone or via the MINDBODY app. Also check out or @acquawellness on Instagram.