New floatation therapy studio opens in Bellingham


Afloat, Dan Martin

Owner Dan Martin in his float tank at Afloat in the Ohio Works Studio on Ohio Street in Bellingham Wednesday April 24, 2013. Martin says floatation therapy is like "training wheels for meditation."


BELLINGHAM - With so much mental stimulation surrounding people these days, Dan Martin believes taking a complete break from it all is a great way to relax.

Martin recently opened a floatation therapy studio called Afloat. Martin said he wanted to help clients relieve stress, speed healing and improve mental and athletic performance.

Previously known as sensory deprivation chambers or isolation tanks, a float tank enables someone to achieve the deepest possible form of rest, Martin said. Clients typically float in the tank for an hour or 90 minutes in about 10 inches of saltwater.

Martin said he originally wanted to focus on the physical benefits when opening the studio, but he said many of the clients use it for stress relief.

"Floating is like hitting the reset button on your life, especially for those experiencing stress in their lives," Martin said. "Even for an hour, the reduced stress can last for days."

Floatation therapy was popular in the 1980s before declining in the 1990s, he said. A comeback has taken place in recent years; Martin estimates there are about 70 commercial flotation therapy tanks across the U.S.

While it may be possible to have insurance cover some of the expense, clients usually pay for the sessions out of pocket. Sessions at Afloat are generally around $60 an hour.

The other common question Martin gets is how it's cleaned. The water is completely filtered between clients, and he noted the high concentration of salt, which helps people float, also kills bacteria.

The Afloat studio is at 112 Ohio St., Suite 111, near Bellingham High School. For more information, call 360-224-7320 or visit

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or Read his business blog at or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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