Wonderland Miami mixes psychedelics, new-school wellness at annual conference
Now more than ever, many people are focused on improving their overall health and wellness. After making it through a global pandemic, the notion of “living your best life” has become highly desirable.
Nowhere is that vibe more prevalent than Wonderland Miami. Presented by Microdose, the three day conference was chock-full of panels and presentations covering a range of wellness-adjacent topics. From psychedelic underground stories to neurofeedback, the amount of information was dizzying.
The event, now in its third year, was once solely focused on psychedelics, but the 2023 iteration evolved to include longevity and mental health content. The decision created a Venn diagram of New Age spirituality, consciousness expansion, and tech. While there is plenty to talk about with regard to psychedelics alone, the addition of these topics introduced event-goers to the wide world of biohacking, Eastern philosophies, and holistic medicine.
The added content made sense on multiple fronts, since people who are interested in alternative health are likely also curious about psychedelics (and vice versa). The ability to build a more robust agenda and exhibitor list was a clear incentive for organizers as well looking to attract a broader range of attendees.
“I was happy that this year that they let me bring in the Daoist emotional cleansing technique class, it was like this five element meditation that I was able to teach. And then I was able to teach a Tai Chi and Qi Gong class and I got really good feedback on both of them,” said Dr. Jonathan Fields, an integrative medicine specialist who also spoke about being part of a lawsuit that aims to force the DEA to reschedule psilocybin.
The energy was mostly high at Wonderland, despite a late start on day one and a quieter than usual expo floor. Sharing information and building community was top of mind for many speakers and attendees, and an evolution in programming made for a more dynamic event overall.
Other highlights from the event included a talk on responsible mental health reporting in the media, tales from the legacy market, and a bevy of veterans-focused content (Wonderland coincided with Veteran’s Day). The latter was especially meaningful, given the community’s dedication to helping vets access psychedelic therapy to help ease post-traumatic stress.
Veteran-founded Ketamine Task Force launched a sister organization on the final day of the event called Healing Our Heroes, kicking off a “Hike for Heroes” walk from Wonderland to encourage insurance coverage of ketamine therapy and immediate treatment for those who need it most. The walk raised several thousand dollars for the cause.
Tough questions remain
One question that remained after Wonderland surrounds accessibility. It’s no secret that legal psychedelic therapy can cost thousands of dollars. The same can be said about the treatments on display, whether it’s red light therapy or hormonal rejuvenation. Even gaining insight to these cutting-edge technologies is costly: a ticket to Wonderland was several hundred dollars, although some scholarships were made available.
A lack of Indigenous representation was also cause for concern for some.
“Where is the diversity and healing?” asked speaker and journalist Mary Carreón. “I only see investors; Indigenous voices need to have a seat at the table as this ‘industry’ emerges.”
Overall, Wonderland Miami was a wild trip down the rabbit hole of 21st century wellness. From talks on the role of empathogens in psychotherapy to tasty functional beverages on the floor (stay tuned for a review of New Brew!) and late-night afterparties filled with trippy imagery and thumping bass, there was something for anyone interested in bettering themselves without mainstream medicine.
And while it will take time for the information disseminated at Wonderland to reach the masses, it’s hoped the messages of hope, healing, and collective consciousness will spread to those who need them most.