FUTURE DAY SPA from Lucy McRae

The Future Day Spa is a personlised, physiological experience delivering controlled vacuum pressure to the body replicating the feeling of being hugged. Guided by a therapist, participants hand their bodies over to a part–human, part–machine process inducing a state of relaxation. A collaboration between Qualcomm’s Inventor Lab, we integrated technologies for capturing biometric data to understand the physiological benefits of a treatment.

Trialled on over 100 individuals at LA’s re/code conference, one participant disclosed he denies himself physical contact with other humans, and at the end of his treatment responded (surprisingly) by hugging his therapist. Denying oneself of touch silences the release of oxytocin in the brain; a hormone said to be involved in social recognition and the formation of trust between people.

Originally designed to prepare the body for space, this unexpected response has raised parallels between behavioural effects of triggering oxytocin and possible applications the Future Day Spa could have on treating social isolation, autistic spectrums and depression.

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