Flow: It's Not Just A Euphemism For Menstruation Anymore!
Primal Movements? Hyperbaric Oxygen? Neurofeedback? What the hell is going on in Santa Cruz?
What is flow, other than a euphemism for menstruation?
According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Hungarian psychologist who coined the term, Flow is "Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."
In other words: total focus.
It's a state of mind to which most people who indulge in athletic pursuits can relate. It's the key to those rare magic sessions—your balance is perfect, your reactions flawless, and you surf to your utmost ability. Far better than your average session. Enough to make you think, "Shit, I'm pretty good at this."
For most of us it's transitory. Back to normal dorkery the following day. But it's a quality you see in the very best and brightest in every sport. They can laser-brain lock-on to a single activity and everything else falls away.
It's an aspect of a personality that can be exceedingly torturous to loved ones, but forms the basis for the distinction between Very Good and World Class.
It's no wonder people would chase it. No surprise they'd be willing to pay for secrets to its internal location.
Enter the Magic Flow Bus, a rented van that travels to various beach cities and carts customers through a day-long voyage in search of: Flow.
According to their Magic Flow Bus’s website, which contains a lot of words and pictures but very little actual useful information, the particulars of each Flow Bus outing varies.
But the coming session in Santa Cruz features:
Many of the above items do hold real benefits to your health or, at the very least, will make you feel physically good for a short period of time.
Yoga works, because flexibility is good for you. Even if you don't buy into the spiritual aspect. Saunas and ice baths feel good, especially if you're an ageing but active human.
Vitamin infusions, which is to say IV drips, will brighten up your average day due , because most of us are either subtly dehydrated or acutely hungover.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is very useful for treating certain medical conditions, and will leave you feeling great even if you don't suffer from any of them (breathing pure O2 for short periods of time induces light euphoria, though it is toxic over the long term).
Biohacking means, apparently, whatever you want it to mean—as simple changing your diet and sleep patterns, or as ill-considered as injecting yourself with a home-brewed gene therapy. If the term rings a bell in the back of your mind it may be because you heard about the death of biohacking entrepreneur, Aaron Traywick, after he took too much ketamine and drowned in a sensory deprivation tank earlier this year.
There's no way of knowing which of the definitions of biohacking the Magic Flow Bus embraces. One desperately hopes it's the first. Sleep more, eat better, drink more water. It's advice we should all take (but probably won't).
The special guest for the forthcoming session is big wave bruiser, Shawn Dollar, who credits his recovery from a severe concussion a few years back to time spent in a hyperbaric chamber.
"People are really interested in [the hyperbaric chamber], and what happened after. But, really, the subject matter is getting in the flow, the space to create, and achieve the goals you set. For me the best example of that is, how did I achieve two world records surfing? Which was extremely difficult to do and it's not something that just happens by chance or by accident. There was a lot of stuff during my life at that time, processes I was taking to make sure I was ready when the opportunity came to me that I was ready.
"It's gonna be more like, meditation, cold plunges, all kinds of stuff that they're gonna share with people that were effective in creating the opportunity for me to achieve my goals."
The Mayo Clinic states "The evidence is insufficient to support claims that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can effectively treat..." brain injuries, such as Dollar's. But he's up and about and feeling better, so I'm willing to take the man's word for it.
In the end, the Magic Flow Bus looks like it'll probably be a fun day spent outdoors with people who share a similar willingness to embrace medical claims more or less lacking a factual basis. But that's not, necessarily, a bad thing. And who knows? Maybe it'll work for you. The placebo effect is very powerful.