2016 Schedule

Urban Float

Schedule Overview

Thursday, Aug. 18

Workshop Registration: 8am
Start a Center Workshop (Day 1): 9am – 6:30pm

Friday, Aug. 19

Start a Center Workshop (Day 2): 9am – 1pm
Friday Activities: 8am – 7pm
Welcome Party: 7pm

Saturday, Aug. 20

Conference Registration: 8am
Float Conference (Day 1): 9am – 6:15pm
Conference Reception: 7pm

Sunday, Aug. 21

Float Conference (Day 2): 10am – 6:15pm

Monday, Aug. 22

Certified Pool/Spa Operator Training: 9am – 5pm

Detailed Schedule

Aug 18Thursday

Workshop Registration

Come early to get signed in.

No need to bring a ticket, if you registered for the Workshop ticket online, we have you on our list :)

9:00 AM

The How to Start a Float Center Workshop Begins!

by Ashkahn Jahromi, Graham Talley, and Jake Marty

For Workshop Guests Only

The How to Start a Float Center Workshop is an intensive training course, covering everything you need to know to start and run your float business.

This workshop is the information we would have loved to know when we started our center, Float On, in 2010. We will be covering everything from float tank maintenance, to float center construction, to float-specific marketing techniques that have worked for us.

See the details for the Workshop >>

9:00 AM

Shop Logistics and Operations

Float schedule, flow of a customer, cleaning schedule, software…

10:40 AM


11:10 AM

Float Sanitation

Epsom salt, different types of float tanks, filtration systems, different types of disinfectant, tank chemistry, testing, regulations and certifications…

12:50 PM

Running a Float Biz Is Easy and Other Wildly Inaccurate Statements

by Ray Thoma

Sponsored Talk

It’s easy to think it’s as simple as buying a float tank, filling it with epsom salt & water, opening your doors, and customers will come. It takes a true passion for people, a willingness to make a difference in people’s lives, and an understanding that you will have to wear many hats as a float biz owner/operator. The most important ones being float educator, float experience translator, and a 24/7 float ambassador.

1:00 PM


OrbitA catered lunch will be provided.

A special thanks to Orbit for helping make this lunch possible!

2:30 PM


Choosing a location, laying out your ideal space, choosing contractors, soundproofing…

4:10 PM


4:40 PM

Construction Continues

Water/salt proofing, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, ADA requirements and improvements…

6:30 PM

End of Day 1 of the Workshop

Aug 19Friday

9:00 AM

Day 2 of the How to Start a Float Center Workshop Begins!

9:00 AM

Business Planning and Finances

Business basics, timeline to opening, buildout finances, typical monthly profit & loss…

10:40 AM

Additional Revenue for Your Float Business

by Joey Thomas

Sponsored Talk

Joey Thomas represents Sunlighten, Inc. the Industry leader in Patented Infrared Technology. She has been involved with the global promotion of Sunlighten’s Solocarbon® FAR and revolutionary 3 in 1 FULL Spectrum (Far-Mid & Near) Infrared saunas for 10 years.

Sunlighten infrared saunas are commercially certified products that will generate an additional stream of income for your float business. Cutting edge 3 in 1 Far, Mid, and Near Infrared technologies provide natural healing benefits which complement and enhance float services. In as little as 10 sq. ft. of space, Sunlighten sessions supply a quick return on the investment as an unassisted service with add-on products available for recurring retail sales.

10:50 AM


11:20 AM

Marketing and Outreach

Target markets, pricing, PR, running a daily deal, special programs and internships…

1:00 PM

End of the How to Start a Float Center Workshop

1:00 PM



A catered lunch will be provided.

Special thanks to Sunlighten for helping make this lunch possible!

8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

View the Friday Activities page
for specific activity locations.

Friday Activities Begin!

Open to Everyone

The Friday Activities are a series of float community organized events.

There’s a wide range of activities to choose from, from a bus tour of Portland’s float centers to a float sanitation workshop.

View the activities (and sign up) here!

7:00 PM

Rogue Hall
1717 SW Park Ave
Portland, OR 97201

(next to where the Activities are happening)

Friday Welcome Party

Come join us for a casual get together at the Rogue Brewery. It’s right across the street from where most of the Friday Activities are happening.

Rogue is one of the classic Oregon breweries, and their Portland location has a wide selection of their craft beers, along with a full bar and restaurant. It’s a perfect welcome to the city of Portland.

Aug 20Saturday

Float Conference

Conference Registration

If you didn’t attend the How to Start a Float Center Workshop, come early to get signed in for the conference.

There’s no need to bring a ticket. If you registered online, you’ll be on our list :)

9:00 AM

The Conference Begins!

It’s finally happening! Each attendee will be provided with a complimentary seat belt so you can strap yourself in.

9:00 AM

Opening Words

by Ashkahn Jahromi

9:15 AM

Inspiration to Fruition

by Jim Hefner

Jim Hefner is co-founder and visionary of the world’s largest float center, Just Float, located in Los Angeles, CA. He is also a fledgling psychonaut, serial entrepreneur, MBA, adventure athlete, husband and father, who also happens to be rabid about floating and creating the perfect float environment.

Jim will be talking about the impetus and inspiration that led him to open an 11 cabin float center in the middle of Los Angeles, what that process looked like, and the challenges he sees going forward.

9:40 AM

Side Effects of Floating During Pregnancy

by Kirsten Gerrish and Lena Kilic

Voted in Speaker

In addition to being midwives, Kirsten and Lena run a float center that is located next door to their birthing center. This gives them special insight into how they can help the pregnant population. Kirsten and Lena have collected post float surveys from all of their floaters and will be sharing their responses in this talk. They’ll also share their reflections on the benefit of floating during pregnancy.

9:55 AM

Engineering Float Pools for Clinical Research

by Colin Stanwell-Smith

Dr. Justin Feinstein’s decision to use floating for brain research is a milestone in both the development and the clinical acceptance of float tank hardware. The open and closed round pools at LIBR, Tulsa, needed extra levels of design work in several areas. I will be describing air treatment, antivibration spring support, data logging, and other special features.

10:15 AM


Q&A sessions with Jim Hefner, Kirsten Gerrish / Lena Kilic, and Colin Stanwell-Smith will be held upstairs.

10:45 AM

Exploring the Anti-Anxiety Effects of Floating Using fMRI

by Dr. Justin Feinstein

Dr. Feinstein is Director of the Float Clinic and Research Center (FCRC) at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. The FCRC’s mission is to investigate the effects of floatation on both the body and the brain, as well as explore its potential as a therapeutic treatment for promoting mental health and healing in patients who suffer from anxiety and PTSD.

Chronic anxiety is notoriously difficult to treat and many anti-anxiety medications can be highly addictive. It is imperative to explore new ways of naturally combating anxiety, and floating may provide a powerful alternative option. This presentation will unveil the results of a recent float-fMRI study, illuminating for the first time how the human brain is changed by the floating experience.

11:25 AM

The Effect of Floating on the Brain’s Resting-State Network

by Dr. Pan Lin

Dr. Pan Lin is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. He recently moved from Xi’an, China all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma in order to join the Float Clinic & Research Center, where he will be an integral researcher exploring the neuroscience of floatation in both healthy and anxious populations.

The advent of functional neuroimaging has led to the relatively recent discovery that even while the brain is resting, and not actively engaged in a task, it still emits a high degree of activity in a distinct set of brain regions collectively known as the “Resting-State Network”. This presentation will explore how the experience of floating alters the brain’s Resting-State Network and how these changes compare to rest experienced outside of a float tank.

11:55 AM

Floating on Purpose

by Nick Janicki

Sponsored Talk

Nick will give a talk on how to make six figures in the float industry, change lives and make anything possible. The float industry is experiencing unprecedented growth and now is absolutely the time to enter the industry. Learn how True REST is making strategic partnerships to expand influence and maximize market potential.

Nick will also discuss float pod technological interactions and will unveil the True REST pod designed based on the flower of life.

12:10 PM


Q&A sessions with Justin Feinstein, Pan Lin, and Nick Janicki will be held upstairs right at the beginning of lunch.

We’ve got a special treat in line for Saturday’s lunch!

The Portland Farmer’s Market is world famous, and is easily one of Portland’s main attractions during the summertime. And it takes place right outside the conference theater!

Each conference attendee will be given Farmer’s Market tokens which they can use to get food from any of the stands.

With over 200 vendors of everything from local produce to delicious hot food, this is bound to be a meal you won’t soon forget.

A special thanks to True REST for helping make this lunch possible!

2:10 PM

The Effects of Stimulus Reduction on Creativity

by Dr. Peter Suedfeld

Peter Suedfeld has been actively working in the field of psychology for over 50 years, with a great deal of work done specifically on researching REST. With a Ph.D. from Princeton University, Dr. Suedfeld has spent his career studying how human beings react to coping with the world around them.

The presentation will review the available scientific evidence concerning the effects of reduced stimulation in general, and flotation in particular, on artistic activity and achievement.

2:40 PM

Discovering Floatation for Service Induced Stress: A Veteran’s Story

by Michael Harding and Bek Houghton

Michael is an Afghanistan veteran who struggled to reconcile certain experiences during his time at war. With the support of his loving partner Bek, he was able to incorporate a range of alternative modalities which immeasurably improved his quality of life. This is a powerful story of how floatation therapy in conjunction with other holistic practices can reverse the negative ripple that service induced stress creates within the ex-service community.

2:55 PM

Veterans Now Floating Their Fears Away

by Gary Ferguson

Voted in Speaker

Having attended last year’s Float Conference, Gary was blown away by the authentic compassion he experienced from both the attendees and providers. At his age he was not expecting to fall in love with an industry. He made a commitment to return this year and share with everyone the possibilities he has created to support this growing industry. For nearly a half century he has personally dealt with the symptoms PTSD and TBI from his combat experiences in Vietnam (1967-68) during the TET offensive. The past 30 years have been without the use of medications both prescribed and non-prescribed.

Upon his return to Northern California, after last year’s Float Conference, he immediately reached out to several of his strategic partners including Dr. Len Ochs with OchsLabs of Sebastopol, CA, the recognized authority in neurofeedback, Alex Doman of Advanced Brain Technologies from Ogden, UT, creator of the “Veteran At Ease Reset Listening Protocols,” The HeartMath Institute of Boulder Creek, CA, and Rachael Dardano at Internal Wisdom in Folsom, CA, to create the “AS ONE” Coalition. This coalition of service providers is committed to providing the necessary leadership to create “complementary alternative modalities” in health care, starting with our Veteran community.

Several pilot studies are now currently under way with clinical studies being considered as early as the end of this year.

3:10 PM


Q&A sessions with Peter Suedfeld, Michael Harding / Bek Houghton, and Gary Ferguson will be held upstairs.

3:40 PM

Measuring the Physiological Effects of Floating

by Colleen Wohlrab

Colleen is the lab manager at the Float Clinic and Research Center, which is housed in the Laureate Institute for Brain Research.

The floatation environment presents serious challenges for electrical equipment and physiological measurement. This talk will discuss how the Float Clinic and Research Center is non-invasively measuring heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and movement. Preliminary results from physiological measurements continuously collected during the float experience will also be unveiled.

4:00 PM

Floating and Interoception

by Dr. Sahib Khalsa

Dr. Khalsa is Director of Clinical Studies at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. His research on the heart-brain connection focuses on improving our understanding of how people feel their heartbeat, and how the human brain maps cardiac sensation.

His presentation will explore how floating provides a powerful form of internal sensory enhancement that bolsters awareness of the heartbeat and breath. He will also describe preliminary results from a new study investigating how floating is experienced by individuals with anorexia nervosa.

4:40 PM


Q&A sessions with Colleen Wohlrab and Sahib Khalsa will be held upstairs.

5:10 PM

Keeping the Tanks Full: Spreading the Salty Word

by Jesse Ratner-Decle and Sean Lavery

So you’ve opened or will be opening a float center and now you’re wondering how to find a steady stream of buoyant bodies! In the summer of 2014, Sean and Jesse opened Float Toronto – a 5 tank center in downtown Toronto. They’ll discuss the strategies that have been essential to keeping their tanks operating at 80% -100% capacity throughout the first 2 years of operation.

5:40 PM

Flotation Tanks and Psychedelic Research: John Lilly, Stan Grof, and MAPS

by Rick Doblin

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

The talk will focus on how the use by John Lilly of the flotation tank and LSD for research into the human biocomputer and Stan Grof’s research into LSD-assisted psychotherapy were the key inspirations for Rick Doblin to focus his life on psychedelics and subsequently to create MAPS, on how his own use of LSD in the flotation tank helped him through a major personal crisis, and on the current state of the psychedelic research renaissance.

6:15 PM

End of Day 1 of the Float Conference

Q&A sessions with Jesse Ratner-Decle / Sean Lavery and Rick Doblin will be held upstairs.

Conference Reception Party

We’ve reserved the top floor of the Hilton Hotel for a swanky party that is not to be missed.

Come celebrate the wonderful salty industry we’re all in together!

Dinner will be provided.Urban Float / I-sopod

A special thank you to Urban Float for making this reception possible!

Aug 21Sunday

10:00 AM

Day 2 of the Float Conference Begins

10:00 AM

Altered States, Sacred Spaces, and the Business of Floating

by Kevin Johnson

In modern western culture, there is a tendency toward the Newtonian, cerebral interpretation of reality. However, we are all too often left with the feeling that “something is missing.” Our busy lives rarely leave time for experiencing the sacred, the numinous, and the profound.

Since the invention of the floatation tank, the exploration of altered states of consciousness, non ordinary reality, and mind expansion have played an important role. For Dr. Lilly and the many Psychonauts who follow in his footsteps, the altered states induced by floating have become a “gateway experience,” a “dogma free” opportunity to make space in our lives for the sacred, the spiritual, and the divine. Most regular floaters quickly realize that floating can become a deeply spiritual practice, providing succinct personal insights and a profound inner awakening. Quite often, they will turn to float center operators and employees for help in interpreting their experiences and integrating those experiences in their daily lives.

Are we prepared? Our fear of being labeled too “new age” or “woo woo” makes many commercial float center operators shy away from conversations about such things. By doing so, we underserve our clients and limit growth. In this discussion, we’ll talk about why these altered states are so important to humans, humanity, and your float business. We’ll explore ways to encourage communication and how to create a sacred space where your clients can engage in deep, transformative work.

10:30 AM

There’s No Business Like Float Business

by Ashkahn Jahromi and Graham Talley

Ashkahn and Graham recently finished up a three month tour across the US and Canada, journeying around in their tiny box of an RV to visit even tinier boxes of saltwater (and the people who operate them).

There is an enormous variety of settings for floatation, but there are more similarities than differences to be found among those that are immersed in our industry. From apartments, to medical facilities, to MMA gyms, to spas, to artist warehouses, to dedicated float centers – there are kind and inspiring people who are spreading floating everywhere you look.

11:10 AM


Q&A sessions with Kevin Johnson, Ashkahn Jahromi / Graham Talley will be held upstairs.

11:40 AM

Investigating the Neural Correlates of Interoception, Relaxation, And “Flow”: The BrainStation Window into Floating

by Ricardo Gil-da-Costa

Ricardo Gil-da-Costa is the co-founder and C.E.O. of Neuroverse, Inc., a neurotechnology company that has created a new class of mobile brain interfaces for health and consumer electronics applications.

Dr. Gil-da-Costa will present the exciting framework and preliminary pilot data of a new research program to investigate brain activity during floating. In collaboration with the Laureate Institute for Brain Research and Just Float, the team is using Neuroverse’s BrainStation, a novel mobile electroencephalography (EEG) system, to record real-time patterns of neural activity during float sessions. This research can lead to powerful new avenues for sustained mental health, as well as innovative therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders.

12:15 PM

Near Zero Level of Physical Stimulation: John Lilly, Jay Shurley, and the Origins of Flotation

by Charlie Williams

The origins of flotation have been attributed to Cold War behavioural science research into sensory deprivation, in particular the water isolation technique developed by John Lilly and Jay Shurley in the 50s and early 60s. Drawing on documents from institutional and personal archives, this paper examines this history, situating it against the backdrop of Cold War concerns about brainwashing and mind control. It explores the complex relationship these researchers had with their experimental work, the ethical compromises they made and the extent to which their approach to self-experimentation and exploration has shaped the practice of flotation today.

12:45 PM

The Ins and Outs of the Float Business

by Pete O’Brien

Sponsored Talk

Pete, along with his wife Donna, is the owner of At Peace Floatation and Massage in Colleyville, Texas. Pete, a former major league baseball player for 12 years, understands the importance of floating, not just for athletes, but everyone! Pete’s impetus for opening At Peace was to provide a place for people to decompress, subsequently allowing their restored immune system to aid in health and wellness of the individual. At Peace was opened in May 2008, and continues to operate, making it one of the oldest float centers in the U.S.

1:00 PM


Q&A sessions with Ricardo Gil-da-Costa, Charlie Williams, and Pete O’Brien will be upstairs right at the beginning of lunch.


At PeacePortland is famous for its food carts. You can drive all over the city to experience some of the most famous carts, but instead we’ve brought them all to you!

We’ve rented out the park right outside the conference theater and have food carts driving in from all over the city to form our own private food cart event.

A special thank you to At Peace for helping make this lunch possible.

3:00 PM

Float Sanitation Panel

with Jason MacDonald, Bob Crandall, and Rich Martin.
Facilitated by Ashkahn Jahromi

We’ve put a panel together of some of the world’s leading experts on float tank sanitation and regulations.

Jason MacDonald is a health regulator from Canada that has worked extensively with float tanks and their place in Health Department regulations.

Bob Crandall developed the use of Hydrogen Peroxide and UV as a form of pool and spa sanitation, and is responsible for a huge body of research showing its efficacy.

Rich Martin works for NSF International, and has been leading the development of the float tank certification that is being developed there.

4:25 PM


Q&A with the Float Sanitation Panel will be held upstairs.

4:55 PM

The Experience – Protean Potential

by Stephen Johnson

A conceptual survey and philosophical/poetic speculation on the Float experience. Emphasizing the nature of the experience as it relates to similar practices, the creative power of its developing mythos, and the ‘Protean Potential.’ To speak of hope and creativity as they relate to our current cultural boundary conditions.

5:10 PM

How to Move the Tank Experience More into Our Lives

by Glenn Perry and Lee Perry

Glenn and Lee Perry, mentored by Dr John C. Lilly, developed the first ever commercial float tank, the Samadhi tank.

In their 44 years of floating, they have often contemplated what the tank experience is to them. They will share their most recent thoughts about this and explore how this experience can be moved more into your life.

5:45 PM

Closing Words

by Graham Talley

6:00 PM

Thank Yous

6:15 PM

End of the 2016 Float Conference

Q&A sessions with Stephen Johnson and Glenn / Lee Perry will be held upstairs.

Aug 22Monday

CPO Training Begins!

by Jake Marty

For CPO Sign Ups Only

The Certified Pool/Spa Operator training course is a certification given by the National Swimming Pool Foundation. It is not unusual to see regulations for commercial pools and spas that require a certified staff member on hand, and the CPO certification is the most widely recognized certification of its kind around the world.

The information in this course is geared towards the pool and spa industry, and as such, it is a great way to learn the language that your health department speaks. However, this particular CPO course is unique in that it is being taught by Jake Marty, one of the owners of Float On, who will help put the information into the context of running a float center.

This course is perfect for people with existing float centers, and for those who are in the planning stages. It is a fusion course, and requires completion of an online portion before coming to this event.

Read more about (and sign up for) the CPO training course here!

5:00 PM

CPO Training Ends