2015 Float Conference
This year Amy and Mark graciously gave me the opportunity to fly out to Portland, OR for the 2015 Float Conference! It was an amazing weekend filled with great speeches and a lot of opportunities to socialize with float industry leaders, potential float center owners and other float enthusiasts. The speeches were all recorded so even if you couldn't make it out, you'll have the opportunity to see them online!
Friday was filled with various activities you could choose from: meditation workshops, industry round table discussions, or a double decker bus tour of Portland's float centers.
We spent the day riding around Portland and visiting the different float centers with Graham Talley from Float On as our wonderful tour guide!
The Float Conference began on Saturday and I was immediately struck by the number of doctors who were speaking! We heard from several different doctors over the course of two days covering a variety of topics from past and current float centered research, to the future of floatation therapy.
Dr. Justin Feinstein of Laureate Institute for Brain Research is doing amazing things for our community and I encourage all of you to check out the cool happenings going on at LIBR. Dr. Feinstein has acquired some tank proof equipment which will be helpful for getting even more in depth information about how floating effects the mind and body!
As the talks continued a surprise migraine forced it's way to the center of my focus. I learned that Sandra Calm from The Float Shoppe being the amazing person that she is, scheduled me a float in her beautiful float center so that I wouldn't have to deal with the skull splitting pain for the rest of the night.
Before I headed off to the Float Shoppe, I was blessed with the opportunity to hear Emily Norren talk about her float journey. I was moved to tears within the first five minutes as I listened to her battles with an eating disorder, addiction and depression and her subsequent full recovery with help from the float tanks. She received a well deserved standing ovation.
She wrote a book chronicling her journey and I encourage each and every one of you to read it.
We have purchased some copies for the Float Nashville lobby and if you need some hope (and a good cry) come on by.
You can read Unsinkable online for free as well but show your support and purchase a copy for yourself or anyone you know that is struggling. It's well worth it.
Glenn & Lee Perry closed out day one of the conference with laughter and inspiration and stories about working with Dr. Lilly, the pioneer who paved the way for the rest of us.
I made my way over to The Float Shoppe and had a wonderful session in their largest tank, Floatarium. It made quick work of ending my migraine and I was refreshed and ready for day two!
Sunday began with an epic surprise balloon drop as Graham Talley and Ashkahn Jahromi of Float On began their talk about accomplishing monumental feats. It was a much needed boost for me to keep my eye on the prize and not to get bogged down with all the little things that can end up paralyzing you from making progress. Plus, we got to play volleyball with the balloons for a few minutes.
Dr. Marek Malus joined us all the way from Czech Republic to talk about exciting innovations in REST research, including "dark therapy," which are retreats in which an individual stays in a cabin with all the amenities of a house, in absolute dark, silence, and solitude.
Food is brought to you and you have the option of daily visits with a therapist. You are allowed to terminate the experience at any time and there is a one way phone you can use should you need to call for help.
His most recent study began in early 2015, and is still in progress. Student volunteers participate in 2-3 day dark therapy sessions at a local facility. The study is focusing on cognitive performance tests, and on physiological data. I'm excited to see the results as we start to move towards more holistic therapies.
I highly recommend anyone in, around, or contemplating joining our float community makes the trip out. The talks themselves are gold mines of information, the activities you can participate in are a blast and the opportunity to be surrounded by kindred spirits is something I hope everyone gets to experience.
As I left Portland I reflected on how, much like floating itself, there is no way to put this experience into words.
The people in this industry are unlike any I've ever met anywhere else and though I try to stay based in the here and now and focused on Nashville, I find myself counting down the days until next August when I can hopefully reunite with the beautiful souls that took me under their wing and made me feel welcome and a part of something much bigger than myself. Float on, my friends. Float on.