2015 Speakers

Dr. Peter Suedfeld

One of the original REST researchers

Peter Suedfeld has been actively working in the field of psychology for over 50 years. 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.

He is one of the pioneering researchers in the field of REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy), and was the founding President of IRIS (the International REST Investigators Society). His research continues to be a foundation of knowledge on REST, and its effects on the human condition.

Dr. Arreed Barabasz

One of the original REST researchers

Arreed Barabasz has a long and respected history with float tanks and REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy), having worked alongside leading researchers in the field. He is a licensed psychologist, and has worked extensively with the American Psychological Society, and, among other things, has served the role of President of the Society of Psychological Hypnosis.

He is currently the Editor of the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, IJCEH (the highest-ranking journal in the field), and a full professor in the College of Education at Washington State University.

Arreed will be joining us to discuss his thoughts on the use of dry floatation REST and its effects on hypnosis pain relief.

Dr. Justin Feinstein

Researcher at the Float Clinic and Research Center

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 conditions such as anxiety, addiction, and anorexia.

His presentation will unveil the results from a recent float-fMRI study, illuminating for the first time how the human brain is changed by the floating experience.

Dr. Sahib Khalsa

Researcher at the Float Clinic and Research Center

Dr. Khalsa is an expert on the heart-brain connection. His research explores how people feel their heartbeat and how the human brain maps cardiac sensation. Over the years, he has studied many different populations including experienced meditators and patients with psychiatric illness. As Director of Clinical Studies at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, he aims to develop new treatments that re-establish a functional dialogue between the heart and brain.

He will be presenting on the profound effects that floating has on the body’s autonomic nervous system, as well as showing how floating creates a powerful form of internal sensory enhancement that can help bolster an individual’s awareness for their heartbeat.

Dr. Kyle Simmons

Researcher at the Float Clinic and Research Center

Dr. Simmons is an investigator at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research who has helped pioneer the study of how the human brain predicts and maps the internal world of our body. His research has led to important discoveries highlighting the ways in which psychiatric illness can disrupt the brain’s internal body maps.

He will be presenting a brand new neuroscience theory known as the EPIC model, and will be describing how this model can help explain the effect that floating has on both our body and the body inside our brain.

Glenn Perry

Creator of the first commercial float tank

Glenn Perry, mentored by Dr John C. Lilly, developed the first ever commercial float tank, the Samadhi tank. Since then, he never stops tinkering, continuing to push the world of floatation forward with his own ever present brand of functional innovation and design, focusing on improving the user’s experience at an affordable price.

Glenn will be here to speak as a representative of the Floatation Tank Association, an organization that supports the success of floating.

Lee Perry

President of the Samadhi Tank Company

Lee Perry, as president of the Samadhi Tank Company, has spent the last 40 years working to keep the business of floating a journey into the realm of service and adventure. As chairman of the board of the Floatation Tank Association, she focuses on advocating best practices, educating health departments on regulations for this industry, and supporting new float businesses.

Along with being here as a representative of the FTA, Lee will also be giving a presentation alongside her husband Glenn Perry.

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols

Author and enthusiast of all things water

Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols is a scientist, wild water advocate, movement-maker, New York Times bestselling author, and dad. His research and expeditions have taken him to coasts and waterways across North, Central and South America, to Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe. This is what keeps his colleagues and collaborators working hard to understand and restore our blue planet.

J. is a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and co-founder of Ocean Revolution, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEE the WILD, a conservation travel network, Grupo Tortuguero, an international sea turtle conservation network, and LiVBLUE!, a global campaign to reconnect us to our water planet. He has authored and co-authored more than 50 scientific papers and reports and his work has been broadcast on NPR, BBC, PBS, National Geographic and Animal Planet and featured in Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, Fast Company, Scientific American and New Scientist, among others.

J. found floating during his water research, and included it in his most recent book, Blue Mind. J. will be at the Float Conference to present on the wonders of water.

Ashkahn Jahromi

Float Conference organizer and MC

Ashkahn Jahromi will serve as host and MC for the 2015 Float Conference. In preparation, he’s spent the last year high up in the Himalayan mountains, training with Tibetan monks to perfect saying “Now put your hands together for…”

As one of the owners of Float On here in Portland, Oregon, Ashkahn has amassed a huge body of knowledge on float tanks, the operation of a float center, and float tank sanitation and regulations.

Ashkahn will be presenting with Graham Talley about the business philosophy that Float On practices, and speaking at the Float Center Workshop, a crash course in building and running a float center.

Graham Talley

Float Conference organizer and owner of Float On

Graham Talley, one of the original founders of Float On, will be speaking at both the conference and the Float Center Workshop.

Graham has been lecturing on small business, happiness, and (most recently) float tanks for the better part of a decade. His interests and areas of expertise extend from water sanitation to treasure hunts, from user interface and complex systems design to experimental theater.

Graham joined Ashkahn in episode 7 of the Float Conference Podcast.

Jake Marty

Owner of Float On – Speaking at the Float Center Workshop

Jake Marty, another one of the Float On owners, will be speaking at the Float Center Workshop. He will be sharing experiences from the last several years where he spent countless days (and nights) fighting the good fight against salt damage and defending against rogue sound waves trying to sneak into beautiful, peaceful float rooms.

Jake will also be conducting the NSPF Certified Pool/Spa Operator training course taking place on the Monday following the Float Conference.

Whichever city Jake is in, he can often be found atop the nearest mountain anticipating the sunrise.

Paul Reeves

Washington State Health Department

Paul Reeves has a B.S. in Aquatic Biology (fisheries and limnology) and began his career in environmental health in the late 80’s in Minnesota. He’s been involved with pools and water/environmental quality in various ways his entire career, including drowning prevention, food service, septic systems, drinking water, solid waste, hazardous waste, air quality, waste reduction, recycling, composting, and a lot of committee work with multidisciplinary groups.

He’s currently working for the Washington State Health Department’s recreational water division, and is leading the effort in creating float tank specific regulations for the state of Washington.

Paul will be at the Conference to present on float tanks from a US regulator’s perspective, and to walk people through how the in’s and out’s of the Health Department.

Jason MacDonald

President of the Alberta branch of Canadian Health Inspectors

Jason began his career as a health inspector in 2005 after years of managing a successful retail business. He initially focused his attention to the inspection of aquatic facilities in Edmonton, and for several years was the health inspector for the world’s largest indoor waterpark at West Edmonton Mall. After that, he shifted his focus to personal service inspections. As a topic expert in this area, Jason gives many presentations across Canada on infection prevention and control issues that arise in these settings. He is also a guest lecturer to Environmental Health students at Concordia University College in Edmonton, Alberta for both swimming pools and personal services.

Jason completed the After Degree Program in Environmental Health at Concordia University College in 2004 and also holds an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences and Chemistry from the University of Alberta. In 2011 he was elected to the National Executive Council of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors.

Jason will be at the Float Conference to talk about floating from the perspective of a health regulator, and how to best work with your local health department.

Dr. Marek Malus

Researcher of Chamber REST in the Czech Republic

Marek Malus is a young academic worker and researcher at University of Ostrava, in the Czech Republic. He received his Ph.D. at Palacký University Olomouc, where he initiated REST research within his studies.

In 2010 he started a research study on a new service that was arising in the Czech Republic called the “Dark Therapy,” which at the time was completely unknown in the academic community. Until then, the only studies on sensory deprivation that researchers were familiar with had mostly negative connotation. Through his research he was able to bring to light more modern studies of REST techniques, primarily Chamber REST, which includes the Dark Therapy.

Marek is studying the development of this service in Czech Republic and Slovakia with an interest in furthering the research and publications in this field. In the future, he would like to focus mostly on the possibilities of the development of mindfulness and therapeutic applications in the environment of Chamber REST.

Andy Zaremba

Co-founder of Float House

Andy is the Co-host of the Vancouver Real podcast and the co-founder/owner of Float House (Vancouver’s first float centre in over 20 years).

No matter which realm he’s playing in, he strives to be the best man he can possibly be, bringing his greatest efforts forth to his family, friends, and community. His precious daughter, Ella Faith, is truly a gift and continues to be a significant inspiration & strength in his life.

Andy has a fascination for learning and a deep passion for personal growth, whether it be through books, courses, public speaking, podcasts, floating, and the like. He believes that growth is infinite and stagnation does not exist; the journey is purely about expansion and living fully with excellence regardless of the “imperfections.”

Andy’s interests include traveling, physical fitness, martial arts, yoga, meditation/floating, music, art, hiking, scuba diving, reading, and having stimulating conversations.

Andy will be at the Float Conference to speak alongside Nick Janicki about the tools they have used to successfully grow their businesses.

Tom Fine

One of the original REST researchers

Thomas H. Fine is one of the biggest names in the research of REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy). He established, alongside John Turner, the Floatation REST research program at the University of Toledo College of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Ohio), where he now is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry.

Over a twenty year period, Tom and John published numerous papers and edited several books regarding the physical and mental results of floatation therapy, focusing on psychophysiological and endocrine changes associated with repeated use of a Floatation Tank, and the effects of floating on various stress related disorders (most notably his research on cortisol level reduction in the floatation environment).

Tom will be at the Conference to facilitate a research panel consisting of Justin Feinstein, Peter Suedfeld, and Arreed Barabasz.

Listen to Tom Fine in Episode 1 of the Float Conference Podcast.

Rich Martin

NSF International

Rich Martin works for NSF International (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation), an international organization focused on creating standards and certifications for the protection of public health.

The NSF is in the process of developing a standard for the certification of floatation tanks, and Rich has been the spearheading force in the development of this standard.

Rich has spent the better part of 20 years working in the field of health safety and operation of pools/spas and drinking water through a number of accredited standards organizations.

He will be at the conference as a representative of the NSF to give an update on the current state of the developing NSF standard.

Rich also is a guest in episode 5 of the Float Conference Podcast.

Kevin Johnson

Owner of Zero Gravity Float Rooms

Kevin Johnson is the founder and CEO of Zero Gravity Institute in Austin, TX. ZGI is a state of the art floatation center and private research facility. He is also the designer and manufacturer of the new, technologically advanced Zero Gravity Float Rooms.

Kevin has been floating since 1986, when he went to work for one of the world’s first commercial floatation centers. With a history of over 500 floats, including a recent research project titled “100 floats in 100 days”, Kevin brings a vast amount of knowledge, insight and experience to the world of floatation and the tank manufacturing industry.

In addition to his work with Zero Gravity Institute and Zero Gravity Float Rooms, Kevin is also actively consulting on over a dozen new float centers opening around the world and has recently started working on a new book called “Floating – Evolution of the Next Consciousness”. He has been featured in several magazines and periodicals, and has appeared on many popular podcasts including; “Tangentially Speaking” with Christopher Ryan Ph.D, “The Warrior Poet” with Aubrey Marcus, “Not Just Paleo” with Evan Brand, and “Fat Burning Man” with Abel James.

Kevin will be speaking during the Float Center Workshop.

James Nestor

Author and avid floater

James Nestor has written for Outside Magazine, Dwell Magazine, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Men’s Journal, and more. He discovered float tanks over 6 years ago when doing research for his book, Get High Now (without drugs). He then went on to research John Lilly for his most recent book, DEEP: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves.

James will be at the 2015 Float Conference to talk about the effects of water on the human body, and give a new perspective on the experience of being in a float tank.

James is also in episode 3 of the Float Conference Podcast.

Crash Hoefler

Founder of Float Lab Technologies

Crash Hoefler is the Director of Float Lab Technologies, and has been manufacturing high-quality isolation chambers since 1999. He has also operated a float venue in Venice Beach, California since 2001.

Float Lab has just completed its template facility in Westwood, California, which contains seven fully certified chambers.

Crash will be at the Float Conference to present the information he’s learned in his years in the float industry, and to talk about the future of floatation.

Stephen Johnson

Psychiatric Nurse, Fascial Anatomist, and Philosopher

Stephen Johnson has been a boxer, modern dancer, actor, coach and trainer. He has worked as a Psychiatric Nurse for 27 years, and conducted a private practice as a Structural Integrator for over 20 years. He is an Anatomist specializing in Fascial Anatomy, has conducted research, and taught at various schools. He is a Bio Somatic Movement educator, a yoga teacher in the Ashtanga style, a long time meditator in both Soto and Rinzai traditions and a practitioner of Tai Chi / Qi Gong.

En route to an ordination in Interfaith and counseling with an emphasis in the science-spirit interfaith, eco-spirituality and somato-spiritual practices. He is the director of The Spirit Assemblage, which is an educational forum for the definition and exploration of non-religious spirit as it manifests in the self and culture. Stephen is currently working on a series of Lectures/book “The Body: Physic and Meta-Physic.”

Stephen Johnson will be at the Float Conference to present a view of float tanks as a key tool for anatomical and spiritual integration.

Stephen also appears in episode 4 of the Float Conference Podcast.

Nick Janicki

Owner of True REST and Float Pod Technologies

Nick Janicki is the founder of the True REST® Float Spa, CEO of Float Pod™ Technologies and founder of the Floatpodcast.com. True REST currently has 8 locations open/opening with 20 more on the horizon and True REST is currently the fastest growing floating franchisor in the world.

Nick discovered Floating in November of 2008 after watching a Joe Rogan video about it. He immediately sought out the experience and after several months of searching was able to try it. He was sold after the first float and recognized “As a society it seems we have forgotten how to relax and relaxation is a state that must be remembered. Flotation Therapy is an environment that meditates you and without any effort your body, mind and spirit awaken to the memories and benefits of true rest.”

Nick has the vision of creating a brand based platform for floating and estimates 1,000,000 will have floated through the True REST brand within the next 5 years. Nick believes the future of floating is all about collaborative technological enhancements and is researching and actively integrating technologies and environmental changes into the floating including, ORME, grounding, EMF blocking, sound resonance, bio-feedback, etc.

Emily Noren

Voted in Speaker from this year’s Speaking Applicants

As a float facilitator at The Float Shoppe in Portland, Oregon, Emily has had the pleasure of sharing floating with people every day, and writing about these experiences in her free time. She has compiled these writings into her recently published book, Unsinkable, which follows these once fragmented writing pieces as they trace her recovery from eating disorders and drug addiction.

Emily is also honored to have traveled to the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, OK, to assist with the setup of their float center, which will benefit patients in their eating disorder treatment program.

Melaney Flaniken

Massage Therapist for At Peace Floatation Spa

Melaney Flaniken is a practicing Massage Therapist and Brand Ambassador for At Peace Floatation Spa in Colleyville, Texas. Melaney holds a B.S. degree in Integrative Health Studies, A.A. degree in Massage Therapy, and is a Certified Yoga Instructor. She is an advocate for complementary health care and prevention of disease through active self care.

Introduced to floatation in 2013, Melaney has become an avid “floater” and shares her passion whenever possible. She believes the potential for the expansion of floatation therapy is vast, and is confident that it will soon become more integrated with many other practices and complementary health treatments.

Melaney will be speaking during the Float Center Workshop.