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The 25 most ridiculous stress relief products
Girlfriend knee pillows, robot chicks and other dubious anti-anxiety gizmos
Surprise, surprise: Asia’s stress levels are the highest in the world, says a 2006 survey of business leaders. Many of these worrywarts have long since turned to oddball products that supposedly relieve anxiety. We can’t vouch for any of these gizmos, but they’re amusing as travel gifts and might elicit a few laughs. After all, isn’t that the best medicine for a rough week?
1. Glug away your troubles with Adult Milk
Put away the whiskey. Japanese workaholics can now decompress with a glass of Adult Milk. The liquid is collected and bottled at dawn because cows release large amounts of the stress-relieving hormone melatonin overnight. Each bottle costs ¥5,000, about 30 times as much as ordinary milk, at Nakazawa Foods.
2. Lay your head on your pillow girlfriend’s knee
After a long day, there’s nothing like resting your head in the lap of a bodacious woman. Even if she’s made of foam and missing the top half of her body. Take home a Girlfriend Knee Pillow (Hiza Makura) for US$98 from JList.
3. Burst a never-ending supply of bubble wrap
Popping bubble wrap takes the tension out of your shoulders -- until you run out of material, and that leaves you even more frustrated. This keychain device mimics the experience, letting you “Puchi Puchi” until the cows come home. US$12.50 at JList; comes in various colors.
4. Snuggle a hot water bottle cat
Nyantomo is a somewhat-realistic-looking cat with a hot water bottle in his belly. He’ll keep you warm for up to eight hours, with no risk of allergies or scratches. US$126 at Japan Trend Shop.
5. Yell into a vase
When stress hits, put your lips to Sakebi no Tsufu and scream your lungs out. The vase absorbs the sound, so your boss won’t hear your expletive-ridden grievances. Nab one for ¥4,980 on Amazon Japan.
6. Smash plates against a wall
Ever wish you could throw dinner plates across the room? The Venting Place in Akihabara, Tokyo lets you do exactly that. Blogger Michael Beddall reports, “You can get three small dishes for ¥500, a medium sized plate for ¥500, a big platter for ¥1,000.”
7. Rub your head with a flower arranger
Torture device or scalp massager? The latter. It’s inspired by kenzan, a holder used in Japanese flower arrangement. US$49 from Japan Trend Shop.
8. Squeeze an alien until his maggots pop out
When you clench E.T. in your fist, green goopy maggots burst out of his eye sockets. Instant relief. A pack of two costs US$4.23 at DealExtreme.
9. Fondle a rubber breast or feces rocket
Reviewer E_Man says: “They squish like stress relievers should, and they have a stand. As a bonus, one is shaped like a boob, and boobs are cool. The other is poop, and poop is funny and cool.” US$4.86 at DealExtreme.
10. Massage your digits with a roller device
The Yubi Lax Germa is no regular finger-massager. It’s built with germanium, a mineral that warms up the roller as you drag it over your digits. ¥945 from Mantensha.
11. Swim with a Zen Dolphin
The Zen Dolphin swims in a sea of blue light, accompanied by soothing ocean sounds. Gazing at it will clear your mind. Or something. US$42.99 at Cool Stuff Express.
12. Pull on pressure point socks
These cute socks have latex pads that stimulate pressure points in your feet and drain your worries away. US$44 a pair from Japan Trend Shop.
13. Punch a pink simulacrum of your ex
Ever had the urge to slap your ex-boyfriend silly? Slip his photo into the blow-up Smack Him doll and let your fists fly. Yours for US$25.95 at ShopWiki.
14. Rest your head on disembodied hands
Laying your head in these creepy foam hands will purportedly ease your neck strain. US$52 from Japan Trend Shop.
15. Electronically erase your stress
The StressEraser is a portable biofeedback device that trains you to synchronize your breaths to your natural heartbeat. Exhaling at the triangle symbol will supposedly trigger your body’s natural relaxation response. Try one out for US$119 from Stress Eraser.
16. Slip on a scalp-massaging helmet
What lies beneath this oversized bike helmet: calming sounds, rotating acupressure balls, temperature controls and LED lighting. Contact Korea’s Headtime for this dystopian device.
17. Hang out on a levitating lounge chair
The Personal Rockin’ Computer gently swings back and forth while you dally on your laptop. Retails for US$4,082 from a Swedish web site -- and no, the beautiful woman is not included.
18. Wring out your worries on your purse
Diridonica’s De Stress handbag collection has squeezable surfaces you can channel your negative energy into. The Ducklings one is US$246.77.
19. Hit a red button and blow up your workspace
When you smack the USB Panic Button, your computer simulates an explosion, pulls up a face for punching, or displays a spreadsheet so you can pretend you’re working hard. US$16 from USB Geek.
20. Get a tentacle massage from a cute octopus
The octopus’s tentacles vibrate at the push of a button, melting the tension from your muscles. £5.89 from FH Shop.
21. Sooth your strains with bamboo charcoal
As early as the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese have been using bamboo charcoal as a revitalization aid. The material emits oxygen and negative ions, while absorbing impurities in the air. C60 Bamboo sells various products, including a box of stalks for US$24.95 from c60bamboo.
22. Coo a robot chick
Sega invented a lifelike motorized baby chicken that chirps and flaps its wings when petted. Aww. Pick up a Dream Chick for US$26.90 from Brando.
23. Slap on a stress relief patch
Herbal patches made with “a centuries-old tried and true formula designed to relax.” Stick one on your wrist over an acupuncture point and hope for the best. Twelve for US$24.95 from Stress Relief Patches.
24. Slip on an exfoliating slipper
Baby Foot’s disposable slippers are lined with a soothing gel that treats your tired feet, eventually causing the outer layer to peel off. The results posted in this gallery are impressive, if slightly disturbing. Around ¥2,000 a box. Purchase here.
25. Spit on a stress detector
There’s an easy way to check your anxiety levels: lob a loogie onto the Nipro Cocoro Meter. It measures the amount of amylase, an enzyme that increases with stress, and expresses the results via a cute stick figure. ¥25,000 from Rakuten.