Sensory Deprivation: An Altered State of Mind

ABC's Neal Karlinsky has a strange experience inside a Float Seattle sensory deprivation tank.
6:39 | 05/19/14

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Transcript for Sensory Deprivation: An Altered State of Mind
-- -- -- -- your brain is. Nightline is about to take you on -- -- to enlist -- alternate world. On the other side of this past. Okay. This is a unique opportunity for stillness. And -- and privacy. 31 year old Sean McCormack is -- -- sensory deprivation business you know one foot in other foot and. And then you -- -- -- uses her crouched down. He -- -- Seattle customers are offered a chance to get away from it all by floating in a closed box. Filled with ten inches of water loaded with 1000 pounds of -- -- -- There's no light. No sound no distractions. All you do his float it can be harder than it looks and for some people. The -- state of deep meditation even hallucinate. And providing. Avoid you know sensory deprivation and I'm and selling nothing basically it's the perfect outlet to unplug even turning your phone off. For an hour is a big deal for people and here it's not only your phone -- you're shutting out the entire world come with me you know Chilean. Sean is no longtime guru -- -- life coach he's a former radio ad salesman. But he's been meditating since he was twelve and became obsessed with looting when he tried it in a -- makeshift tank. My experience was fantastic. And I kept thinking about it he says the impact was so deep he recently changed careers and opened his own business -- -- -- to -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- this. Yeah. I felt like the only way to truly understand was to try it. This is a really unique opportunity. To be away from things that her this is it. Your your body your brain have been waiting for this opportunity for us for true stillness. -- already heard that some people freak out at first and leave early finding it way too claustrophobic we had rigged by -- with and night vision camera. -- As -- close that door and settled into warm extremely -- water. I had no idea that my day was about to completely change. The idea of sensory deprivation tanks and floating isn't new. Neuroscientist John -- first develop them in the 1950s. The study the effects of total isolation on the brain and -- case sometimes while using drugs. -- practice made famous and terrifying by the 1980s science fiction movie. Altered -- Starring William Hurt as a scientist -- request is to a murderous proto human while using a tank. But flooding has turned up elsewhere from the recent scifi show -- To the Simpsons where you can at least -- -- took -- trip. Yeah. How -- you planning -- just can't. Looking. Meanwhile inside my strange little world I see a few flashes of light not unlike what you might see when you close your eyes. I'm relaxed but aware that I'm doing a story -- all this my brain wasn't going anywhere strange so far. It turns out scientists first thought the brain would just shut down without incessant in -- But what researchers found is just the opposite it enters a state similar to meditation. But by eliminating gravity -- floating it goes deeper. There's been quite a few really -- -- -- overall reduction in pain overall improve. Improved mood improved understanding and awareness of their body. Doctor Robert try here is a physical therapist who has studied flotation. And offers it to help some of his patients. I was blown away by how they would come out of -- session not only physically relaxed but mentally cognitively relaxed. We do see that people come out of thanked them if they definitely. Functioning better from an anecdotal standpoint. For some people it can be life changing. Ashley -- a cardiac care nurse says she quit smoking and drinking after she began floating and seeing things in a whole new light. There was that immediate impact when you walked out the door from afloat we're gonna light a cigarette. -- -- -- And so they can. I I was there -- and taking back could face and included. I believe me -- I had. Can really play I've learned more about myself inside months and I feel at home life. That's sort of pro -- reaction is the reason Sean says he sees all sorts of people coming through his door who wants to float. A lot of people who are working. Day in and day out. Really hard and you didn't need a break planning the rest of your life and the rest today what you gonna do what you need done what you have to do that that -- that quiets down. You can't see it in my face but somewhere around the halfway point of my -- were inside. I go somewhere and it isn't it all like a dream. When the music comes on signaling the end of my float. I don't want to -- -- -- -- -- -- Crazy thing. They couldn't shake it I wasn't asleep yet divisions were crystal clear like that kind of flashback you see in the movies. And definitely completely left. Kitchen table ready. -- There. -- -- certainly not everyone react the same but for me. It may not be altered states but a trip far far away from the hustle and bustle of reality and deep inside. Your own mind. I'm Neal Karlinsky for Nightline. In Seattle.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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