In Brief

Traditional mindfulness delivered by a not-so-traditional medium

I walked up to the purple egg chair and sat down. The engineer tells me to take off my glasses, replacing them with VR goggles. I choose my settings and then am prompted to notice my breathing. Sounds relaxing, right? That is how I eased into my first go-round with using virtual reality for mediation purposes. The question is, will the ritual of getting connected to these devices liberate me and encourage me to relax?

Using a pop-up retail store to debut the Cigna Virtual Relaxation Pod, Cigna, a global provider of health services, partnered with STORY, a retail concept store that frequently changes products like an art gallery. The featured product, the Virtual Relaxation Pod, is an immersive two-minute experience that employs guided meditation. The experience, which features the voice of expert meditation facilitators, is intended to promote mindfulness and help lower the cost of stress-related illnesses which apparently are estimated to cost the U.S. economy over $300 billion each year.

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