At 9:00 pm on a Friday night, Ansley and John Skowski came to a store called Outrage in Kennesaw, north of Atlanta. Inside the cinder-block walled room, they brandished crowbars, bats, and eight-pound sledgehammers, smashing dishes, glassware, and junk electronics.
“It just went away as soon as I hit it,” says John, with a heavy metal soundtrack blaring in the background.
Outrage is one of three rage rooms in Georgia. Also called smash rooms or anger rooms, these businesses provide a safe space to physically vent. But do they actually improve mental health?
Ansley and John were wearing safety goggles and gloves during the crash. And after a while they started gasping. Breaking a lot of stuff is a bit of a workout. Ansley said she doesn’t have as much anger as the normal stress of a stay-at-home mom.
“Mom’s night out is sure to be fun,” she said.
Other customers need to address more specific emotions. Isabella and Gary Story are venting a bit of pandemic-era frustration, with Gary purchasing a session as an anniversary gift for his wife.
“She works in a pharmacy, works with the public every day, and has been through COVID and everything for the past three years, so it’s good that she has to release a little stress.”
“In the normal world, I like to squat and just think about things that upset me and just spit it out,” Isabella said.
Kevin Torsel, owner of Rage Room, said his clients open up to him about problems at work, difficult family situations, and other personal traumas.
“It’s like the death of a family member,” he said. And they can smash grandma’s old china. And you get to break those things, and that’s kind of a way of saying it.
Torsel sees his anger chamber as both a business and a mission. He believes the smashing plate will help him deal with anger management issues stemming from his relationship with his father.
“My goal is to help as many people as possible,” Torsel said. But I can tell you that it’s easier for me to lift a bat than to talk to someone. ”
There is very little research on the therapeutic benefits of anger rooms, ax throwing, or other similar businesses. He says the anger room may work as a fun night out, but it’s not a good long-term solution to a serious problem.
“If it’s for fun, absolutely fine. Have fun in there,” Darc said. action. ”
Georgia’s newest rage room, Smithereens, opened in Savannah last year. Carrollton has another one named Recto. Rage rooms have become a national trend in recent years. At Outrage, a customer pays him $90 for a 20 minute session. Outraged customers grind about two tons of material every week. Torsels are cheap from junk haulers.
“For example, if you break a microwave oven or an old dryer, there’s a motor inside. There’s copper that they can’t really access or have time to reach,” Torsel said. When they come to retrieve them, all they have to do is take the scrap with them, which is a win-win situation.
He said they follow federal safety regulations regarding what can and cannot be destroyed. Things like old flat-panel TVs and toxic toner in printers are not allowed. Torsel says the business he set up two years ago is doing so well that he plans to leave the suburbs and expand into expensive Atlanta.