NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (AP) — Loud music, spray-painted walls and smashing of bottles is what you will find inside a rage room.
Jekyll and Hyde Destructive Therapy, a new rage room experience in North Augusta is open to the public
David Jones and Darel Phillips, U.S. military veterans and co-owners of the business, found that this kind of business could be a place to start conversations regarding post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health.
“We feel that we can help prevent or at least stop someone from thinking there is no other way, and that they have other people going through the same things,” Jones said. “We just want to initiate that conversation; and, hopefully, it will lead to someone on a serious note then seeking out help that they ordinarily wouldn’t get. It’s one of the main reasons we wanted to do it.”
The rage room business model is fairly new and started gaining popularity in Japan in the late 2000s. It became more common in the United States through pop culture in shows like ABC’s “The Bachelorette.”
While participating, each person goes through a safety briefing, signs a waiver and wears protective gear including helmets, gloves and plastic face masks.
During 15-minute increments, participants can smash cars, bottles and old electronics using medieval and traditional tools.
“We think that it is becoming more and more popular in a lot of areas; so it is really a case of let’s stake our place within that marketplace in a good area, and let’s become the Dave & Buster’s of rage rooms and smash houses,” Jones said.
Named after famed English characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the duo wanted to show the juxtaposition and taboo of throwing delicate home items.
“If I would have had something like this to where I could go in just for fun to do a little bit of taboo, i.e. throwing some glassware at some targets, going out and smashing a car, going out and breaking some electronics, I know No. 1 that is going to release the dopamines in my head,” Phillips said. “… The way I look at it, everybody has a cup; and it depends on how we deal with those pieces on how fast that cup fills up, and we all need to have that cup emptied.”
“Any red-blooded American has been in their kitchen and been upset and maybe wanted to throw a plate, throw some glassware, something. Well here, you don’t even have to clean it up; so now it is OK, and it is in a safe environment,” Phillips said.
Phillips hopes that 15 minutes of destructive therapy and a safe environment will give people a safe place to express pent-up feelings and lead to a path for healing.
The duo hopes to host veteran and retiree peer group meetings at their business.
“There is so much anger, COVID has proven that … A lot of people are upset with the VA system when it comes to mental health and everything else. We are screaming out, but nobody is listening; and I feel that this is great to No. 1 bring the community together to be able to get some of that anger, the stress relief out,” Phillips explained. “No. 2, also have a safe environment that is friendly for fun. I look at adults as we are just children with money, and we have learned as adults to suppress our feelings; and we have also learned how to fake it until we finally make it. I want a business that is going to still be fun but professional.”