I’m sitting in a shallow pool, with palm timber for my part, and the solar warming me from above — but my toes are not getting moist. That’s due to the fact I’m inhabiting a Virtual Reality paradise (courtesy of an Oculus Rift S headset). Simultaneously, a massage chair squeezes my calves and forearms, and a fan and solar lamp warm me and keep me cool at the same time.
This might be a synthetic paradise, but it is definitely a calming one. I am, exceptionally, blissed out.
Escapes “Immersive Relaxation” calls itself a “digital truth rub down” revel in that confused out proletariats can flip to for an island of calm inside the midst of a hectic paintings week. Created by way of entrepreneur and VR/gaming developer Micah Jackson, Esqapes opened in Los Angeles this July and gave 30-minute “treatments” for $45 a pop.
Despite being called a “VR massage,” there is not anything digital about the massage itself. A session receives you 30 minutes in a soft rubdown chair that works to your lower back, backside, legs, and yes, however, calves, ft, neck, fingers, and arms. There’s no human masseur involved, but, as an Esqapes employee put it, the 2 chair models they use are more luxe than “what you discover on the mall.”
However, to my marvel, the draw of the VR rubdown is greater approximately the VR than the rubdown. Jackson designed 10 different “environments” that range from the “tropical retreat” I skilled to secluded glens, steeply-priced cabins, and wonderful temples. Nothing happens, consistent with se, in the VR worlds, besides the passage of time as you’ll revel in it in the actual global: the sun movements throughout the sky, waves ripple, birds fly. The fact that you are earthbound in a rubdown chair forces you to go searching and be. And that’s what turns Escapes from something that appears like a silly, vaguely dystopian-sounding gimmick to a singular and powerful way to set off calm.
“The rubdown chair I become like is best,” Jackson said. “It offers you a motive why you’re just on this international and simply looking around, there may be no expectation to do something, you recognize? That was the twist.”
Even at this highly early time for patron VR, headset-primarily based meditation aids are already proliferating. My colleague Sasha Lekach changed into further “pleasantly amazed” whilst reviewing the FlowVR Oculus Go meditation app. Some other enterprise combines a rub-down the chair with a VR world, Medisana, but it does not have any of the interactive heat, wind, and fragrance elements that Esqapes offers.
Escapes are placed off a long taupe hallway in a Los Angeles office building; it’s miles, itself, a workplace suite. It’s full of low slung chairs, faux plants and bushes, and monitors depicting sunsets or mountain landscapes. There is an area with man or woman cubicles wherein clients can begin to unwind.
For the VR rubdown, I am led right into a small room with a rub down chair inside the middle. I’m informed about slipping my legs and arms into the chair wallet, and an Esqapes worker puts on and adjusts my headset and headphones. I then go through some standard VR calibration, and then… The Escape starts offevolved.
First, the tool leads me via a short respiration workout with quality expanding and contracting light bubbles to study. I perform a little respiration, after which I am reputedly zen sufficient to enter the sector.
I’m dropped into a small, shallow pool of water. I appearance down, and I haven’t any legs. But I do have a waterfall in the distance and palm timber swaying inside the breeze. Tropical birds fly and caw, and I discover them vaguely annoying, but I get used to it as their squawks turn out to be a natural heritage noise.
As I observe the world for fidelity, I finish that the VR timber and water don’t work appearance ~exactly~ like timber and water, IRL. But this quite speedy ceases to count number. Mostly, leaning returned because the chair rubs my neck, I’m searching upon the sky, and I come to note that the quality of the mild is frankly best.