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?
Other presenters talked about additional benefits of floating. Dr. Rod Borrie talked about his research on children with cerebral palsy. His research showed a dramatic decrease in muscle spasticity for children when they floated. Dr. Borrie also did research on floating and pain and his research showed floating reduced the need for pain medication. Graham Talley, one of the owners of Float On, echoed the sentiment by talking about how several of his clients have used floating to wean themselves from their addiction to pain medication.
From a mental and spiritual standpoint, many people talked about how floating has helped them make big changes in their life. Anthony Natale, an employee of Float On, talked about how floating helped him resolve his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Briant Nierstedt, MA, a mental health professional, gave a talk about how floating amplifies the slower brainwave states, which enables people to enhance creativity and find solutions to challenges in their life. Those slower brainwave states were predominant when people were children so it allows them to access memories, such as traumatic memories, in a non-emotional state. That then allows them to find resolution.
It was really exciting to be around people who are passionate about floating.
What does the future hold? I believe floating is going to continue growing and enhancing the lives of millions of people. More and more people will discover how floating allows them to tap into a state of mind they cannot easily achieve anywhere else. It will help people find more peace in their lives, find solutions to personal and professional challenges, and enhance their effectiveness. I expect to see float centers appearing all over the world in cities and small towns, in schools and hospitals, and even in places like firehouses, police headquarters, and even the White House. Can you imagine how effective politicians would be if they floated for 60 or 90 minutes before going into meetings? They would stop bickering about unimportant things and actually focus on getting things done.
However, an important consideration is the facilitation of the float experience by qualified staff. If you have floated before at iFloat, you might appreciate the staff make themselves available to talk after the float. The people who work at iFloat have undergone a series of educational experiences where they have looked at themselves and learned about how the mind works so they can educate iFloaters about their experiences when floating. If, for example, President Obama came out of this float session confused about something he experienced, it would be important he have someone to talk to about how the mind is structured so he can begin to understand what took place. The unconscious part of the mind is not rational, and it is important to have people to talk to in case one needs a hand in understanding a float session.
Consequently, iFloat is offering the float community in-person and webinar-based training to provide float facilitators throughout the world the opportunity to get trained in what John Lilly, the inventor of floating, called metaprogramming. The tools help people examine and adjust patterns in the mind that do not work well. These courses, which iFloat also provides to their clients, will enable float facilitators to enhance the experience of their clients. In the future, I foresee float centers being not just places where people float, but places where people can float and examine what they believe to be real so they can communicate and align on a reality that is beneficial for all.