Nov 29, 2023 - Health

Axios Finish Line: Rage rooms may not be best for stress relief

Erika Renau uses sledgehammer during a therapy session in a rage room at Smash RX on February 26, 2021 in Westlake Village, California. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

A customer uses a sledgehammer in a rage room in Westlake Village, Calif. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Imagine a room full of old TVs, plates, mugs, chairs and more. You walk in with a baseball bat and are free to smash it all.

  • These spaces, dubbed "rage rooms," are getting more popular as a way to let go of stress.

Zoom in: Interest in rage rooms has more than doubled in social media searches this year compared with last year.

  • But rage rooms may not be the most effective long-term remedy for tension.

Zoom out: Stress is on the rise in America.

  • 1 in 4 adults surveyed rated their stress levels between 8 and 10, on a scale of 1-10, according to a recent study by the American Psychological Association.

Reality check: Research doesn't indicate that participating in rage rooms has any salient perks.

  • "If you have a pre-existing pattern of breaking things and want to find a safe way to satisfy that urge, you can try a rage room, but I wouldn't necessarily encourage or recommend it to someone newly seeking stress relief options," says Chloe Carmichael, a clinical psychologist and author of Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety.

Between the lines: There are other productive ways to channel your energy when experiencing stress, anxiety or anger.

  • Carmichael suggests to "address and set a boundary around what is causing the stress and anger in the first place."

Then, consider other productive methods of coping:

  • Working out — whether on a treadmill or in a boxing class — can harness your extra energy while helping you develop a skill.
  • Float therapy tanks containing Epsom salts relax your muscles and remove the element of gravity for a calm, sensory experience.
  • A very hot or cold shower can provide immediate relief from stress with the tactile and sound sensations of the water.
  • Salt rooms, which resemble caves covered in salt from wall to ceiling, can provide a visually stimulating sensation.

The bottom line: Rage rooms may not be all the rage after all.

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