Guesthouse and studio offers area float meditation

Bodhi Tree offers an unlikely form of meditating in a sensory deprivation tank to the region
by Sarah Weingarten 
Bodhi Tree Guesthouse and Studio, located in Athens County, is the only studio in Southeast Ohio that offers float meditation. The wellness retreat’s owners, Liz and Russell Chamberlain, opened Bodhi Tree in September 2014. Today, the business offers guests a newly constructed studio separate from the guesthouse, a sustainable organic farm in the front of the property, plus a few other mind and body inspirations.
The red Bodhi Tree Guesthouse, where guests can stay overnight, sits right next to the reflection pond.
The red Bodhi Tree Guesthouse, where guests can stay overnight, sits right next to the reflection pond.
What is a Float Tank?  
The float tank has its own room and is a pod-shaped tank with a lid that is filled with1,000 pounds of Epsom salt and kept at 94.5 degrees Fahrenheit, about skin temperature. The salt will create buoyancy, allowing people to float, while the temperature will confuse the body about where it is. This lets floaters be deprived of their senses.Float tanks have been showing up here and there in pop culture. They were featured on “The Simpsons” episode “Make Room for Lisa” and most recently in the hit Netflix original series Stranger Things.”
The History of Float Tanks
Float tanks were developed in 1954 by Dr. John C. Lilly. He was testing how the brain reacts when deprived of its senses. From that hypothesis, he created sensory deprivation tanks,better known as float tanks. Today, these devices have been primarily used for meditation and relaxation. Lilly was also famous for his experiments with dolphins and trying to teach them how to communicate with humans.
The Expense of Floating
Being located in Southeast Ohio has posed challenges. “It is a rural area. People don’t have the kind of disposable income that people have in cities,” Liz says. “We get a lot of people who are treating themselves once in a while and aren’t here every week or every month.” A single float is $60 for one hour, but Bodhi Tree also offers a discounted three series float for $120. “It’s buy two get one free. We really try to encourage people to do that,” Liz says.Investing in Meditation
The initial purchase of a float tank is a pricey investment. “It’s like buying a car. They have a range, you can get one for $11,000 or $20,000,” Liz says. Despite the expense, Liz and
Russell were curious of the tank’s benefits and overall potential at their studio. 

Liz Chamberlain, owner of the Bodhi Tree Guesthouse and Studio, is doing a one legged king pigeon pose on the reflection pond's deck.
Liz Chamberlain, owner of the Bodhi Tree Guesthouse and Studio, is doing a one legged king pigeon pose on the reflection pond’s deck.
Reaching Nirvana 
The loss of the senses is supposed to make it easier for someone to reach a state of bliss. “Sitting on a cushion is in some ways a more alert and wakeful style of meditation,” Liz says. “When you’re doing your float all of that external stuff is gone so everything that is arising is pretty much coming from within your own mind.” 


Southeast Ohio strives to spotlight the culture and community within our 21-county region and aims to inform, entertain and inspire readers with stories that hit close to home. Southeast Ohio is the first student-produced regional magazine in the country. Every semester, approximately 25 students enrolled in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism produce an issue of the magazine, which is published in print twice a year. The staff generates story ideas, conducts interviews, writes stories and designs the magazine in only 15 weeks. The magazine has won several Regional Mark of Excellence Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.