Healium can give you a needed virtual escape

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COLUMBIA - For many Americans, vacations have been either cancelled or put on hold, but that doesn't mean a getaway is out of reach. 

"In today's uncertainty and stay-at-home orders, you cannot really get on an airplane and go anywhere and vacation isn't even in the plans," Healium's CEO Sarah Hill said. "The ability to be on a virtual vacation has value for people."

Hill said the goal of Healium is stress management, which works by using virtual and augmented reality to quickly reduce your stress.

"You can just escape on your mobile device or escape inside virtual reality goggles and it quickly downshifts your nervous system," she said. 

So with the help of Healium, you can escape to a destination vacation in the safety and comfort of your home. 

"There's a peaceful forest in the Amazon, there's a Zen garden, there's a beautiful beach called Wineglass Bay in New Zealand that you can be on a beach chair essentially, and you see the waves rolling in," Hill said. "You're looking to the right and left and you see those waves."

The creation of Healium came about when Hill realized she wanted to help people control their stress and it is needed now more than ever.

“In a time of uncertainty where you feel like you've lost control, this allows you to feel like you are in control," she said. "You are in control of your heart rate because you can see it moving up and down the screen in your real time. You can see that calm brain pattern go up and down."

Hill describes this form of healing as a "digital chill pill." 

"It's a different flavor of meditation where you're not closing your eyes to meditate, you're opening your eyes," Hill said. "You're becoming more self aware of your emotions." 

And just like an in-person vacation, you have the chance to get a change of scenery when you feel like you've seen it all. 

"You can go to more than 20 different experiences around the world," Hill said. "Every 60 days we add a new piece of content. It's a walk in the park for those times when you can't physically take a walk in the park."

Even with all the opportunities to see places all around the world, Hill said she kept it local with a Columbia staple: the big tree.

"Inside this Oak tree is a story about stress and how this tree that's hundreds of years old endured floods, droughts, tornadoes, pandemics, and yet it still survives," Hill said. "It was still a sturdy Oak and it's a beautiful story and you're sitting at this tree and you see it brown and barren. Then as you look up slowly, you see that this tree starts to add flowers and blooms."

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