L.A. massage center uses VR and presence to offer customers ‘immersive relaxation’

[Escape your troubles at the new Esqapes Immersive Relaxation Center, opening Friday in Los Angeles. This short story is from TechTheLead, where it includes two more images; see the Esqapes website for much more information. –Matthew]

Massage Center Uses Virtual Reality To Offer Customers ‘Immersive Relaxation’

By Betty Joita
July 2, 2019

One of the reasons we’re so hooked on the idea of virtual reality is because it can take us places without us having to leave our living room and, since we can see the world from our armchair, it wouldn’t be a far-fetched idea to think that we can use virtual reality to also relax our bodies and get rid of stress, right?

That’s what the Esqapes Immersive Relaxation Center, set to open in Los Angeles, aims to deliver.

But you won’t be dealing with your traditional massages here: the center combines automated massaging technology with VR to transport the customers into relaxing, ideal spa environments without the high cost that would come with going to a real, similar location.

At Esqapes, you will be sat down on a massage chair while wearing a VR headset that will transport you to an environment of your choice. You can choose from 10 environments that include a beach at sunset, a cabin in the mountains and you can even seat yourself next to a Koi fish pond.

Esqapes says that their VR experiences are proprietary and designed to help the customers “leave the real world behind.”

“Each Esqapes environment is designed to tantalize the senses and help guests shed the stresses of daily life.” Esqapes said in a press release. “They are living breathing worlds that users will have completely to themselves.”

The experience will be enhanced by the addition of fragrances, which will complement the environment the customers have chosen. The sessions will last for 30 minutes and the customers will also have the option of receiving full-body heat treatments. However, there’s no word on how much they will cost.

“The goal of Esqapes is to provide guests with a unique way to relax and take a break from the routines, responsibilities and daily issues that can cause anxiety and stress,” Micah Jackson, Esqapes creator has said. “Esqapes is using VR in ways unlike any other company, which is to de-stress and help people relax. With a combination of proprietary software, hardware and traditional wellness practices, Esqapes is offering the spa of the future, today!”

Jackson is no stranger to technology and software: he has worked for nearly 20 years for names like AOL, Yahoo and Disney and in 2017 he resigned from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to pursue virtual reality.

It was in 2018 that he decided he wanted to take people to beautiful places via virtual reality and that is how Esqapes was born.

Jackson, in addition to de-stressing the customers, also wants to keep Esqapes truly inclusive and aims to maintain a diverse staff at every location, at all times – no one location will be run by people of a single race or gender.

“We truly want all points of view to grow the business and for all guests to feel welcome.” Jackson said.


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