LDS Hospital's Fitness Center faced the ultimate test on Saturday: to relax a newspaper reporter and mother of two toddlers - without using anesthesia.
The odds were definitely against the center, which Monday will observe "National Relaxation Day" by introducing the general public to its new Alpha Chamber System.The chamber, included in the center's fitness evaluation, is used to help company executives and others facing stress achieve a deep feeling of relaxation. Using no effort, people sitting in the chamber are able to achieve a positive alteration of heartbeat, respiration, body temperature and brain waves in only a matter of minutes.
Or, so I was told.
"Many people have never achieved a state of deep relaxation in their lives; they don't really know what it feels like," said Kent H. Ririe, marketing director of the Fitness Center. "Medical authorities say people need to take 20 minutes each day to deeply relax - without kids and TV.
"Yet, did you know that with the pace of life today, most people don't take the time to do that?"
After all, I'm the mother of Taylor Christian, 4, and Jordan Hunter, 2 - two angels in disguise whose approach makes Ronald McDonald shudder (not to mention the church congregation).
This is a woman who, at 4 a.m., has diet Coke for breakfast, and five hours later eats chocolate and peanut butter frozen yogurt for "lunch."
"Relax." Why, that word was left out of my medical dictionary at the Deseret News.
The pressure was on the center's plush egg-shaped chair as I rested my head backward, determined to prove that relaxation is a luxury I can't afford.
Then, out of no where, came a deep, breathy voice telling me to imagine standing beneath a warm waterfall of liquid relaxation that will gently flow over and through my body - removing all tension and discomfort.
I took note.
"Now, rest comfortably here," whispered the faceless person who had me under a spell. "Reflect to a personal memory of calm and peace, of well-being and satisfaction."
Reality escaped me. Gone were the pressures of daily newspaper deadlines, not to mention the Cheerio-covered carpets and a laundry basket overflowing with un-ironed clothes.
There I was on a lush Hawaiian island. A tree overloaded with calorie-free Mrs. Fields cookies, packed with chocolate and macadamia nuts, was within reach. By my side were two dark-eyed, demure children - who actually listened and responded immediately to my requests.
I knew the center had won.
I reluctantly left the chair, determined to take the calm feeling of energy with me as I "re-awakened to the outside world."
Out emerged a new person - a mellow human being!
But will I retain the relaxation skills I learned in the egg?
Only time will tell. The ultimate test will come tonight when Taylor and Jordan, with little dog Toto in hand, pretend to be tornados and send our house to Oz.