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Reflections on the Float Conference

This past weekend I attended the annual float conference. People from all around the United States and from other parts of the world, such as Asia and Europe, attended the conference. I wanted to write about some of my reflections on the conference, and how it inspired me to look to the future of floating.

The first thing I want to share is there is a huge increase in awareness and interest in floating. Many of you may have noticed the presence of articles about floating in some major newspapers. For example. Slate magazine wrote an article about floating in the spring. Thousands of people read the article and began reaching out to float centers around the world. The Slate article was also picked up by The Week magazine, which further increased awareness. We had numerous calls from people who read those articles but never heard about floating before. Also, earlier in the year, the Wall St. Journal did a piece on floating, which also enhanced awareness and interest in this fascinating tool. Perhaps the person who has influenced the increased interest in floating is Joe Rogan. Thousands of people listen to his podcast every week and he often talks about its benefits. He has his own float tank in his house and he often encourages his guests on the podcast to float.

The question is, why are more and more people floating? Why is it becoming popular?

At the conference this year, there was a mixture of different talks. Some talks focused on the science of floating, while others focused on the creative and spiritual aspects of floating. In terms of the science aspects, Justin Feinstein, a clinical neuropsychology professor from CatlTech, enthusiastically spoke about the many benefits of floating. He demonstrated how floating reduces activity in the cortical regions of the brain, which frees up one’s energy to slow down, reflect within, and, most importantly, reduce anxiety. Dr. Feinstein was passionate about presenting at the conference because he believes floating is essential to reducing the most common psychiatric problem in the United States: anxiety. There are approximately 40 million Americans experiencing anxiety disorder today. I was surprised by that number. However, most people know someone who takes medication for anxiety. What if floating replaced all the medication?


Being One with Darkness

Have you ever been afraid of the dark? Do you know someone who is afraid of the dark?

Floating is a tool that uses darkness to help people find resolutions.

I once had a client (we’ll call him Max) talk about a dreamlike experience he had when floating. Max heard a woman’s voice several times while floating and the voice yelled his name several times. It diving into the darkbothered him because it seemed so real. I explained what he experienced was an auditory hallucination. People often think of hallucinations as visual. However, people can also have auditory or somatic (body) hallucinations. When the mind is not receiving stimuli, it projects stimuli out into the darkness in the form of sound, images, and sensations.

Hallucinations are generally pointing at something going on in the unconscious part of the mind. In a night dream, the characters in the dream are usually not about the people. If someone dreams about their boyfriend, for example, the dream is usually about what the boyfriend represents – not the actual boyfriend. In the case of Max, I pointed out how when one dreams of a woman it sometimes can mean the desire for some feminine part of themselves to be expressed. When I said that, he stared at me stone cold. He said, “How did you know?” I asked him what he was talking about. Then he went on to talk about how he had been wanting to apply to nursing school so he could care for people in hospice centers, but he had been procrastinating it. I said, “Well, it looks like that part of you doesn’t want to be pushed away anymore, don’t you think?” He nodded.


Sound the Alarm! The Voice in the Float Tank is Yours

The purpose of this blog is to show some examples of how floating is a powerful tool for hearing the voice which we sometimes avoid… our own voice, ourselves.

Frustrated WomanLet’s say there’s a woman named Melissa. She is a successful businesswoman. She came into iFloat several months ago to inquire about floating. She sat in our lobby and asked questions. We showed her the float room. She looked interested. She then sat down again and began talking. “I’m frustrated,” she said, “My life is going well but I am having difficulty in my relationships with men. They just don’t last.” I inquired as to why. “They lose interest,” she said scornfully. She was still mad at them. I talked about the mind, and how much of what we do is below one’s awareness. “Do you know what your role was in their departure?” She quickly began talking about her parents. “They were bad role models she said. My mother didn’t love me or anyone. She told me over and over how men were not to be trusted.” I inquired, “Does she still say that?” She took a gulp and said, “My parents died in an accident ten years ago.” I expressed my condolences. We talked more and I explained how the floating might help her explore this more. She signed up for a float.

She came in a few days later. I oriented her and she went in for an hour-long float session. When she came out, she was very tense. I showed her the tea station and she went into the room. About five minutes later I came in to check on her. When I inquired about the session, she said, “It was awful.” She was transmitting a lot of tension and frustration. “What was awful about it?” I said. “My body was in pain. My mind was spinning. I kept breathing to calm myself down but everyvisit-floating-female time I did that I was just so angry. I don’t think this is for me.” I laughed a bit, not to make fun of her but to help calm her down. She was confused. “Look, what happens in the float room is you slow your mind down. It’s like taking an elevator eighty stories down into the parts of your mind you usually do not pay attention to. So as you breathed and as you stayed in there, your mind slowed. Here’s the thing: There is a lot of frustration way down there for you. And here’s the other thing: That’s your frustration. It belongs to no one else except you. In other words, you are the creator of that frustration.”

She did not like to hear that. “I don’t think that’s true,” she said. I responded, “No?,” I said calmly. “Can you explain what you mean?” She went on to explain how her mother made her not trust men, and how she is so angry at her mother. I listened and then responded, “I don’t know your mother and it may be true that your mother did not like men. But the reality is you put that idea in your head about men and it can be changed. Blaming your mother, who is no longer living, for your current life and reality doesn’t make much sense. No one was in the float room with you. It was just you. Therefore, it is your frustration. The voice of frustration is yours.” She then stopped and thought for a long while.

For those of you reading this, it is important to keep in mind that everyone who comes out of a float tank is in a slower brain wave state. It is a brain wave state that is slower than what people generally attain through meditation. More importantly, people coming out of a float room have just spent an hour or more in an environment empty of distraction. That is a big thing for people when they first start floating. The reason is there are no distractions and, therefore, no one or nothing to blame.


Float to Your Destiny

I was recently at the International Float Conference in Portland, OR where I had the opportunity to speak with many float center owners from around the country and the world. Many people inspired me during the weekend. One of the most inspirational stories came from a man named Bernard, who has been operating a float center in Montreal, Canada for over thirty years called Ovarium. Bernard is a quiet but also passionate and driven man to have been able to keep his center in full operation (and growing) for so many years. Recently, they celebrated their thirtieth anniversary. They invited their long-term clients, the media, etc. for the celebration.

Two people surprised him at the celebration. One woman (in her 50s) told him a powerful story. When she was much younger, she became pregnant. She planned on having the baby. However, then the man with whom she became pregnant decided he did not want to have a child. Her life was thrown into a tailspin and she was about to have an abortion. However, before she had the abortion, she happened to stumble upon Ovarium. She desperately wanted to reduce her stress, so she floated. Something powerful happened to her when she was floating. In that quiet space, devoid of distractions and stimuli, she slowed down in a way she did not think was possible. In that slowness or nothingness, something stirred in her. Although she was newly pregnant, she experienced something hard to describe. She said she sensed a connection with the baby developing in her. In that moment, the connection was palpable. In that moment, this woman made a pact with the unborn child. She said, “We’re in this together.” She decided to keep her baby.

Twenty years or so later, there they were: mother and daughter. They attended the thirtieth anniversary of Ovarium. Bernard, the owner, did not know about that story. After the woman thanked him and told him the story, he was astounded. The woman and her daughter were so grateful to him. At the conference, when he told the story to me and everyone else, the room was silent. It was as though everyone in the room sensed the connection the woman felt to her unborn child decades earlier. We also felt the deep obligation we all have to provide floating to the world.

As co-owner of a float center, I have seen clients develop insight, peace, and understanding that made noticeable impacts on their lives. I have had friends and family members of our clients thank us for offering the gift of floating. The reality is we do not do much, except provide an environment where people can slow down and look within. We maintain a space where people can explore and communicate. However, in the end, we simply treat our clients like they are our friends or family… because they are.

Most people can probably attest that every float session allows them to shift in small or large ways. Sometimes the shift is relaxation. Other times it is facing something one is avoiding. It can also be insightful, and many other things. People get what they need when floating. Regardless, we are all like that woman who sensed that connection with her child. We want to remove the chatter and distractions to get to that place where we can “hear/see/sense” the way to move forward in our lives. Doing so allows us to tap into a creative energy and awareness, which motivates us to shape our world and have relationships that transcend our wildest expectations. As Plato said, “There is something to do, that only you can do, a place to fill, that only you can fill.” Come float and find out what that is.