Why 93.5 Degrees is Not the Ideal Floating Temperature
NOTE: Any temperature changes should be made moderately and within safety limits. Those floating in your tanks are in a vulnerable state and put you in a place of responsibility for taking care of them. Please do all necessary research on body/brain safety before altering the temperature of your tanks to ensure their health and well being.
I’m really excited to kick off 2014 with this article. I think It’s really important and will do what this blog was intended to do: Reduce your learning curve.
Dispelling the Myth
Many manuals you pick up when purchasing a float tank will tell you the ideal temperature for your float tank’s water is 93.5 degrees Fahrenheit (about 34 Celsius). It’s a temperature that seems to be common knowledge at most float centers these days, and is the one generally accepted by our community.
Naturally when we set up our first tank we set the temp to 93.5 (following conventional wisdom rather than this manuals instructions of keeping a warmer temperature… We had 3 manuals for 3 tanks at the time, after all). I loved my first float in our new pod, but I’m also the guy walking downtown in shorts in the dead of winter…I’m not a great example of the average floater (or good fashion sense). Even after my partner Sandra went for a float in the tank, the water temperature did not come up. It wasn’t until we started having our parents, friends, and then the general public floating in our tanks that we received strong feedback that our tanks were too chilly!
I wish the story of us changing our temperature was a straightforward one, but really it’s been a long process of constantly tweaking 3 different variables and how they effect each other.
If 93.5 is too cold, what is the right temp? We find somewhere between 94 and 95 degrees is just about right for people. We don’t like to exceed that because of safety concerns (the brain should NOT be in water over 96 degrees and should NEVER be above 98 degrees.)
Once we found our ideal temperature between 94 and 95 degrees, we found people were overall much happier. Even so, we still find that some people were chilly during their float or felt overly hot.
Over time we have discovered that people are far more influenced by air temperature than by the waters temperature. A change in air temperature a few degrees warmer or cooler will drastically change a floaters perception of overall temperature.
Yes, that means customers will also think the water temperature is warmer. This has lead to a few awkward conversations with customers because they have told me that the water was cool and ask that it be warmer next time. Knowing that a simple change in air temp will make the difference they are looking for can be difficult to explain to someone who ‘knows’ it was the water that was cool.
Seasonal Temp Outside
Another element that makes a huge difference in how we maintain our temperatures in our float rooms is the temperature outside. When it’s hot outside, people like it cooler in their float tank rooms. When it’s icy outside, customers want an extra toasty float.
That is why you will not find any thermometers for the air temp in our float rooms (okay, if you really snoop around you will, but we don’t check them very often). The air temperature of rooms is really going to be something that you have to develop a feel for based on the temperature outside. Depending on the weather, people will need a different air temperature in the room to set them to “zero” or what feels like a neutral temperature.
So What’s the Right Temp?
Unfortunately I don’t believe that there is a “correct” temperature that will work all the time. While we do keep our water between 94-95 degrees, we also consider the temperature outside and make moderate changes based on each customer who comes in the door. Some people run cold and some run hot, you may need to change the temperature each time that person floats with you to make sure they have the most ideal float experience possible, which is what all of our aims should be.
Please do not consider this article a fact. Please experiment on your own to find your own answers. The bottom line is that we do not have all the answers yet, and you will need to find what works for you and your customers yourself. If you do experiment, this article will be doing the other half of what I hoped this blog would do: Inspire thought and discussion. If that happens, we will all be helping move this industry forward.