100 floats... and counting…

A centenary of floats? We speak to one Floatworks regular Julia Oakley, who has reached that all-important milestone…

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We see a lot of faces here at Floatworks – some just once a month, some once or twice a week, and some we see more than our own family. One face we see more than most is Julia Oakley. She’s been floating with us for about 18 months now, and recently passed the monumental milestone of 100 hours in the tank.

“I started floating about two years ago, but I’d known about it for a long time,” Julia begins telling us of her journey. “I found Floatworks through Google, and started going in around November 2016. And after the first time I thought ‘this is the best place’.

“What it really helps with is my physical health, I don’t have to take so many painkillers anymore. I’ve got arthritis in my heels, and I’m able to walk more easily now, and I don’t get cramp as much. There’s a general feeling of ease it gives me, and my body’s more relaxed most of the time. And mentally, it’s like instant mediation.”

As someone who used to be hypervigilant, which easily triggers anxiety, Julia has tried a range of therapies and treatments to make life that little bit easier, both physically and mentally. But none have struck a chord with her quite like floating.

“That’s the other thing,” Julia explains, “if something’s making me anxious, now I just don’t do it. Like right now, I don’t want to wrap Christmas presents, so I’m not going to do it. Because it’s not going to cause any harm. Floating has really shifted my mindset.

“I’ve done hypnotherapy, I’ve done acupuncture, I’ve done massage, and to me floating is like an instant massage, but there’s nobody else in the room! I’ve done some mindfulness courses at the North London Buddhist Centre, and floating has helped me tap into that mindfulness tool. I’m not hypervigilant anymore, and it’s dealt with my anxiety, too. I’ve done hypnosis – the first time I did it, it did work for a phobia, but it’s about finding the right therapist. And that’s what’s so good about floating; you are your own therapist, and that’s so empowering.”

One hundred floats in, and you’d expect Julia to have her process tuned and refined down to a tee. And she does, but it’s not as rigid as you might think.

“I always go on a Monday morning to start the week off. Before every float, I always say ‘be kind to yourself, be good to yourself, be gentle to yourself’ to kick off. I sit in the Chill Out room after and just chat to people. I’ve met all kinds of people. Depending on what I’m doing, I always go round to Brunswick House [around the corner from Floatworks] and have my lunch there afterwards.

“But each float is so different. Sometimes I just completely float off, and I’m just gone. My 101st float was amazing. I came out afterwards and went ‘oh wow’.”

We’ll see you in 99 floats for the next feature, Julia!

To book your next float on the path to your centenary, drop us a line or pop in to the centre at Vauxhall!