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Swiftly Moving: Float Tank Standards and Regulations

Swiftly Moving: Float Tank Standards and Regulations
Friday, October 18, 2019
2:30 pm–3:20 pm
Regulations and Standards Track

Graham and Ashkahn will be going over the current state of floatation tank regulation across North America, including recent developments from organizations like the NSF and the Model Aquatic Health Code. They will also be covering the most recent research into disinfection and water sanitation within the float environment.

Float tanks are small tubs typically containing about 200 gallons of water mixed with about 1000 lbs of Epsom salt, making the resulting solution so buoyant that someone can float effortlessly while lying on their back. The salt solution is kept at skin temperature, and the float tanks are completely soundproof and completely light proof, creating an environment with no light, no sound, no sense of touch, and greatly reduced gravity. People float for a variety of reasons, ranging from stress relief to chronic pain relief to mental clarity to enhanced athletic performance.

Graham and Ashkahn run a float center in Portland, Oregon that has been in operation since 2010. Since that time, they have seen float tanks centers open up throughout the United States. With the growing popularity of floating, there is also a growing interest from the perspective of public health in understanding how these facilities operate and if any regulatory oversight is necessary. As health regulators approach float tanks, they quickly come to the realization they’re a different animal from the rest of the recreational water world. The chemistry involved in their salt-saturated solution and their unique means of operation make them quite different from pools and spas, and attempting to apply common pool and spa regulations onto float tanks often hits many roadblocks.