COVID-19: Cleanliness & Managing Immune System Stress
We want to say a little something to acknowledge the threat of COVID-19 in our community. We will continue to offer you a sanctuary to rest and reset, but we also want to make sure that it’s as safe as possible for both our guests and our staff. One of our primary functions here is helping people manage their stress, and that has never been more true than during high-stress events like the situation we’re all experiencing or witnessing with COVID-19.
As in most public emergencies, one of our main challenges is fear and panic among us humans rather than the nature of the issue at the core of the emergency. Fear and panic are stress-based reactions that often aren’t based in logic or mindful consideration. Floating is a great antidote to those cycles of stress-based anxiety.
Stress is also a primary contributor to weakening of the immune system. Disruption of the immune system from excessive production of stress chemicals cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine will not only increase our susceptibility to viruses and infection but will increase the impact of viruses and infections once they’ve taken hold. Want to protect yourself from viruses? Manage your immune system by managing its inputs: environment, food/nutrition, and stress. Here’s a great TED-Ed video on how stress affects the immune system:
And another outstanding presentation on how floating helps immune system function and regulates inflammation:
While there is a significant risk for the elderly and immune-compromised, and that should be taken seriously by considering our impact on them and taking steps necessary to minimize their exposure, the rest of us really would benefit from chilling out a little more, stop feeding our cultural panic, and take care of our incredible immune systems by managing our stress and giving it what it really needs to function at peak performance.
HOW DO WE SANITIZE OUR CENTER AND FLOAT ROOMS?
The fact is the kind of obsessive focus on sanitization and cleaning that we’re now all talking about is and always has been a daily focus for us. We’ve been obsessed with sanitization and cleaning since we opened in 2016. To us, this is all pretty standard stuff.
A few things to be aware of about our processes:
We operate our float tanks following the Standard set by the Floatation Tank Association (FTA) who works with health regulators and experts such as local health departments, the CDC, NSF, and The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) .
I've been on the board of the FTA, serving as treasurer, since early 2019. This organization has been in operation since the 1980s with it's mission to establish clear, effective float tank standards, and communicates to regulators and the public on behalf of the float industry. On our most recent board call we had Dr. Roy Vore, microbiologist and expert on recreational water illness, join us to discuss COVID-19. After our call we prepared a newsletter to send out to commercial float centers around the world. If you really want to dive deep into float tank cleanliness you can watch this video of him speaking to us at Float Conference 2018.
Our float tanks contain 1,000 lbs of Epsom salts. In terms of salinity level, it follows the same “Specific Gravity” level as The Dead Sea, around 1.3 SG. The Dead Sea got it’s name for good reason: very, very few things can survive in it. As it is with float tanks. They are a highly inhospitable environments for pathogens purely from having that much salt in them.
Besides the required pre-float shower, each tank has a 3 step filtering process that consists of a micron filter to filter out particulate matter, an ultra-violet (UV) sanitation and ozone purification system, and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide (an oxidizer)– a safe alternative to chlorine and bromine. Skimmers are used to keep the surface clear. The saltwater in our float tanks is filtered 5 times between every guest. We go in after every guest to visually inspect our suites, and disinfect all commonly touched surfaces such as showers, benches, float tank walls, etc.
In addition to salt and filtration, the interior surfaces of our float tanks are cleaned every single day with a sanitizing solution to ensure no growth of anything pathogenic inside the float tanks.
In addition to salt, filtration and interior surface cleaning, we’ve doubled down on sanitizing all high contact surfaces (handles, light switches, faucets/knobs) with EPA-registered hydrogen peroxide wipes by Clorox, which is primarily where transmission of COVID-19 is occurring.
In addition to all that, we’re actively encouraging any client with symptoms or who has been exposed to anybody with symptoms to stay home.
Last up, our float tank solution is sent to the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene to ensure that our cleaning process is above and beyond what anyone would expect.
What we want to assure you of is that we are always in a state of obsessive awareness of sanitization and cleanliness. It always has been and always will be paramount to us that you feel safe about coming to our space to rest, relax and heal. This situation is not new to us.
IF I AM CONCERNED ABOUT FLOATING RIGHT NOW, CAN I CANCEL MY APPOINTMENT?
Normally, we ask for a 24 hour cancellation notice. If you are feeling unwell, we are always happy to cancel your appointment for free. We understand right now that many people are afraid to be out and about in public, and we are happy to cancel your appointment without our usual policy need. We just ask that you are genuine with us about the reason for your cancellation. We’ll honor it if you do.
WE MAY HAVE TO CANCEL YOUR APPOINTMENT.
If we have reason to think you may be affected, we will cancel your appointment. In the event that we have staff out due to sickness, we may need to cancel your appointment. We will do our best to give you ample notice.
I’M HAVING FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY BECAUSE OF COVID-19. CAN I PAUSE MY MEMBERSHIP?
Absolutely. We’re in this together, and we understand that some people may already be or soon be experiencing financial difficulty as a result of workplace disruptions. Our membership plans always have and always will have flexibility at their heart. We never want anybody to feel financially trapped; that’s the opposite of stress management, right? If you’re having financial troubles, just let us know and we can easily pause your membership for however many months you might need. Accumulated member sessions can still be used so you can continue your self-care. You don't lose them just because you paused your membership.
You can learn more about our Membership at www.floatmadison.com/pricing
We do not want there to be any concerns when you come float with us, so please reach out if you have any other questions!
Please check the CDC Website or The Dane County Health Department Website for the most up to date information.