Generally floating is very safe, although if you have concerns it’s always wise to run something new past your health care providers. I recently developed a list of general facts and medical-specific issues with an MD friend, with the intent of giving people the relevant info they need to discuss floating with their doctors. Please feel free to share!
Published peer reviewed papers related to floating are gathered at ClinicalFloat.com.
General Facts about Floating and FLOAT Boston:
- A float tank is a small shallow pool or large bathtub about a foot deep. Users generally float on their backs (pregnant women sometimes float prone with their elbows resting on the bottom of the tank).
- The float solution is kept at skin temperature (93–95 degrees) for comfortable floats of 90 minutes and more. The environment is warm, humid, quiet, and dark.
- The float solution is sanitized filtered water and very large amounts of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). There are about 900 pounds of Epsom salt in each of our tanks, which makes floating easy.
- Broken skin is uncomfortable in the very salty water. If you’re unsure about your skin integrity, apply some alcohol-based hand sanitizer to the area. If it burns or stings it’ll be uncomfortable in the tank. Minor scrapes will stop stinging in a few minutes, and we do provide A+D ointment to cover small areas.
- Between each user the float solution is run through a large physical filter and UV sanitizer. We also maintain a constant dose of hydrogen peroxide.
- The environment can be slippery. There are safety grab bars in the shower and around the float doors. We also have a safety step and some additional props if you’re worried about your balance.
- Getting into the tanks requires getting over a threshold of about 20″. Rooms 2 & 3 allow you to sit on the edge of the tank while lifting your feet in.
- Rooms 1 & 4 have tanks with an angled door, which upon exit will require you to kneel and raise your hands above your head to push the door open. If you have trouble with that motion, rooms 2 and 3 are more friendly: our Summer Sky tanks feature seven feet of vertical head room and a door set in the wall. See photos of our tanks here.
- All users are required to shower with soap before their floats.
- When floating, the solution covers the ears. We provide earplugs and strongly recommend their use.
- The building is on the ground floor and wheelchair accessible.
- The user is alone in their own tank, which is inside its own room for privacy.
- There is a shower in each individual room.
Some Specific Medical Considerations:
- Uncontrolled epilepsy is a contraindication, as is any medication that compromises your ability to be alert and responsible alone in a bath.
- If you have asthma or COPD, humidity might be a comfort issue.
- If your kidney function is compromised, talk to your doctor about the magnesium soak before you come float.
- Low blood pressure requires caution at the end of your float. Move slowly and use the safety grab bars.
- Please do not float if you have an active infection and/or high fever.
- If you’ve had a recent infection with a parasite, Giardia or Cryptosporidium, please do not float.
- If you have issues with incontinence, please do not float.
- If you appear to be intoxicated, you must pass a coherence test before being allowed to float. Water is not safe if you aren’t alert.
- Adhesives don’t stand up well to the float solution. Tegaderm has come right off.
- Ostomies, PICC lines, and PEG tubes require some discussion with your doctor, but they might be ok for floating depending on location and status. (See issues with broken skin and adhesives.) We have had people lay ostomy bags on their stomach and float with no problem.
- For diabetics, there is some indication that magnesium (from epsom salt) can affect your blood glucose, but this is not well studied. It is also possible that soaking in epsom salt can dry your skin, increasing your risk of cracking.
We’re happy to answer any questions: please email us and let us know. We want to make your visit successful!