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Is Float Therapy Sanitary?

We sometimes get questions from prospective users about whether float therapy is sanitary. I just wanted to do a quick summary of what we do to make sure your floating experience is as clean as it can possibly be. You can plan on three safeguards of purity when you come to Peak Recovery & Health Center to float.

You Shower Before Use

The first safeguard is the shower. We require users to shower before entering the float room or pod. We know you probably already had a shower when you arrive at the Center, but we insist you have one here at our facility right before entering the your float therapy room. That way, you are less likely to bring any germs in with you. If you manage to bring in germs that somehow survive the shower, the next safeguard comes into play.

The second safeguard is sterilization of the floating solution. We sterilize between clients through a process of commercial-grade circulation, filtration, and purification using a combination of UV and ozone. No harsh chemicals (Chlorine, Bromine, etc.) are used in the solution at our facilities. Additionally, surfaces are disinfected using Puregreen24, a level IV EPA registered “green” disinfectant containing silver and citrus nitrate, safe for contact with children and animals.

Epsom Salt Kills Germs

So, we’ve got you clean. We’ve got the solution clean, and that should be enough to ensure your experience is sanitary. But there is one more safeguard: epsom salt. The floating solution is saturated with magnesium sulphate (epsom salts) in a concentration of about 30%. This is about 10 times the salinity of the ocean. It is enough to kill many microorganisms and to prevent reproduction of most. There have been few studies of float therapy sanitation, but one (PDF) published in 2016 by Public Health Ontario found that “a concentrated salt solution (similar to that found in a floatation tank) has modest microbicidal activity. It would likely prevent the growth and replication of most pathogenic microorganisms.”

If you use a swimming pool or a hot tub, you face a far greater risk of unsanitary conditions, even though the risk is very, very small. In the 14 years between 2000 and 2014, the CDC received reports of approximately 500 outbreaks of illness from swimming pools (including water parks). That amounts to 35 outbreaks per year across the country. Given that there are 10.7 million swimming pools in the U.S., the occurrence amounts to an incidence of 0.0003% per pool (that’s three ten-thousandths of one percent).

A Look at the Numbers

My triathlon training over the past 10 years or so has included a great deal of pool swimming, and I can’t remember a time I’ve picked up any sort of infection from a pool. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, just that it’s pretty rare. The statistics say I am unlikely to get an infection from a pool in fewer than 3,300 swims. In other words, if I swim three times a week, I might get one infection after 21 years. In short, if you use a well maintained swimming pool, you are highly unlikely to acquire any dangerous germs. If you use our float therapy, you are even less likely to acquire them because of our three safeguards.

I hope this puts your mind at ease about germs, because when you come to Peak for float therapy, I want you to relax as completely as you can. That’s the whole point.

Photo: “MgSO4-6” by Imajilon is licensed under CC BY 2.0 . This is a photo of epsom salt crystals under polarized light.