Sensory deprivation chambers: Falling in love with floating

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Professional MMA fighter Colin Wright has been hitting hard in the cage for 10 years now, but when he's not battling for the belt, his gentler side comes out. That's after his coach introduced him to something "different" 2 years ago.

"He brought me over here and we did a float session and I loved it so much. I've been into it ever since," Wright explained.

Floating is also known as controlled sensory deprivation. Michelle Deroeun opened Float Houston in 2008 after trying it out herself in London.

"There's 250 gallons in each tank and there's 800 pounds of Epson salt. The Epson is to keep floaters floating on top. It's like the Dead Sea," Deroeun said.

The water is heated to match skin temperature as well.

"In about five minutes, you'll be floating and won't be able to feel the water anymore. That adds to the weightlessness effect and lets your brain go into a Theta state," Deroeun told ABC13.

The Theta state occurs when brain activity slows almost to the point of sleep. Some describe it as a deep spiritual sensation, and report experiencing flashes of dreamlike imagery.

Colin says he'll float a few days before a big fight to help him with clarity and focus.

"It's very meditative almost. Just isolate thoughts and mentally work through it -- a lot of Epson salt, magnesium draws out that lactic acid from muscle soreness," Colin said.

Alicia Howery was impressed after her first floating session.

"Floating, held by a cloud," Howery said of her experience, which had an added benefit that she wasn't expecting.

"My skin all around my neck and face feel softer than I came in with," Howery added.

It was her first -- and definitely not her last, she says.

Douren recommends floating for an hour or more to allow your body to fully fall into that Theta state for beneficial meditation.

"You're hitting a reset button because in our everyday life. There's so much stimulus coming in," Douren said.
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