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Why I float: Eugene Hammond

Through his floating practice, Eugene notices how he’s grown to feel happier as a person. He shares the joy he’s found in witnessing the physical and emotional benefits it brings to those around him.

The movie Inception got me thinking

I’ve always been an active person, with a background steeped in sports; I played football right throughout college and my teenage years. At around 18, though, I got quite a bad injury and the whole football thing came to abrupt end, and that’s around the time I discovered floating.

My first float was in 2009. It was around the time the movie Inception came out. That was all about dreaming, and entering different states of consciousness. I watched it with a friend of mine at the time, and he was listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast and had been listening to him talk about floating. It all sort of linked in quite nicely. After watching that film, we both went and had our first float. I’d caught up on the Joe Rogan podcast, and I did loads of research before, which in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have done, and I built up this huge expectation of this first float, and what was going to happen. I wasn’t disappointed, to be fair. My first float was very interesting!

It was a one-off, and I later floated twice before working here in Vauxhall, and I think they were quite spaced out. My second one was quite underwhelming compared to the first one.

My journey inwards

In the years since, I graduated, I went travelling, and while I was travelling in Australia, I got quite into meditation and yoga, and just improving myself in general. It was a really introspective two-year period. After coming back, I decided that I wanted to use my degree – that was in sports psychology – but I wanted to enter a space of public wellness, I wanted to help people. My first job back was as a disability support worker. I did that for a year, then I realised it was making me really depressed and unhappy, and I wasn’t able help in the way I would have liked to. It was just managing, and giving people medication, rather than contributing to substantial change. The same friend I had my first float with sent me the link to the job opportunity at Floatworks, and straight away I knew it was something I wanted to do. I’d say floating is a holistic thing. Floating is spiritual as well as physical. When I get in and I’m able to switch off, I do a body scan to identify places where I’m feeling a bit tense – a lot of times you carry tension in your shoulders and get lower back pain – it heightens my sense of how I perceive things.

I’ve always been quite a chilled-out person anyway, but I’m a lot happier now. I can definitely credit that to floating. It’s hard to explain, but when you’ve got a spark in your eye, people pick up on that.

Life at Floatworks

The whole environment of Floatworks is a positive space to be in. People are here because they’re trying to work on themselves, or they might be going through a hard time; it feels like there’s a real community. Even if you just have the most random chat in the Chill Out room, there’s always someone to talk to. You can get into deep and meaningful chats with people you’ve just met, and you don’t get that environment in many other places.

There is one lady that’s etched in my memory. At first glance, you could see that she had trouble walking, she had a cane. And our first thoughts were, “Will floating be accessible for her?” I can remember around one of her floats, she was really stressed coming in, but she was determined to float so we calmed her down and walked her through it. We were all anxious for her to have a good float. At the end of it, she came out, and you could just see it in her face some sort of pain had been lifted. She went in and started talking about how she’d had this disability for 15 years in her spine; it was something to do with the alignment. It was a real struggle for her just to float. Even when she was in there she said she was feeling anxious, but she was able to visualise herself just floating downstream. So it went from being physically helpful to being mentally helpful. She hadn’t really overcome the fear and adversity; there were so many barriers for this one customer, but she overcame it all. At the end she just gave me the biggest hug where I felt emotional, she felt emotional, but in a good way, like joyous.

I love that – you actually get to see the physical results of floating in the short-term. And then when you see with people coming back, the long-term effects are clear.

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