5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress

Stress fucks up everything -- it plays a role in heart disease, mental illness, obesity, you name it. It's also something that modern society seems to have no answer for, other than to shrug and say, "Maybe if we legalized weed?" So it's no surprise that people around the world are looking a little outside the box for answers. Way outside.

That's how you wind up with stress relief treatments like ...

Getting Set on Fire

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Aiju Chinese Massage

We understand if you think this treatment's only crime is being incredibly badass. But we would argue that nobody who has had their grease-soaked hands set alight by a barbecue has ever let out a relieved sigh and thought, "Oh, that's better." Yet that's exactly what some alternative medicine practitioners in China are toting when they apply huo liao, or "fire treatment."

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Porno for pyros.

Basically, the therapist throws an herb-soaked rag on you, pours alcohol over it, and sets you alight, sending you on a one-way trip to relaxation town. All the while, seasoned professionals are keeping a careful watch in case you go up like a Buddhist monk. Again, you know you've got an awesome stress regimen going when it requires somebody to hover over you with a fire extinguisher.

Supposedly, fire treatments help not only with stress and depression, but also indigestion, infertility, and cancer, despite all medical sourcing for those claims originating directly out of an ancestor's rectal canal. Still, we do think it might be worth the fee just to get a photo of you on Facebook with a Ghost Rider dick.

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Fire crotch: it's not just for gingers anymore.

And really, even if every medical authority on Earth published a paper tomorrow titled "Why Letting People Set You On Fire Does Nothing But Kill You Quicker," it wouldn't matter to huo liao regulars. Proper healthcare in China is often laughably corrupt and expensive, and people seek out relief any way they can. Hey, if you're going to pay for a placebo effect, why not shell out the cash for one that looks like this:

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress

"You took away my tiger penis and rhino horn. Let me have this."

Still, you know you're in trouble when setting your balls on fire is a better health alternative to what the government is offering.

The German Swearing Hotline

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Ljupco Smokovski/Hemera/Getty Images

If you think our goal is to mock all of these methods, you're dead wrong -- this next one looks like about the best fucking idea we've heard all year.

Germans have a way of sounding angry even when they're not, so it's not difficult to imagine Germany as a stressful powder keg of potential screaming tirades. In an effort to reduce instances of stressed-out employees going home in a table-flipping rage after a hard day at work, a couple of German entrepreneurs started up a swearing hotline.

Schei uns an! SCHIIVIPIL.OS.I 0000 O 000 000 OL LET THE ANGER JUST GET OUT! AND AT THE SCHIMPF 0000! O00 000 9 F min from Gormn lancine Moblike ratn m

"Thank you, paying customer, may I have another?"

The service, known as Schimpf-los ("swear away"), offers an outlet for your rage just a phone call away. Operators are standing by seven days a week to receive your abuse, so you can get it off your chest and don't wind up venting on people who can make your life miserable later. If you have a powerful urge to call your middle manager Hans a pencil-dicked turdhammer, but you don't want to lose your job, you can let rip on a professional abuse-receiver instead.

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Rugdal/iStock/Getty Images


So why does this service need live operators at the other end? First, because swearing at an inanimate object simply isn't the same thing, and also because an operator can tell if a caller is holding back. They're encouraged to taunt callers until the psycho inside takes over and they're screaming "scheisse!" down the phone line. Evidently, it does some good (how could it not?), although there's no word on the mental effects experienced by people whose job it is to sit on a phone every day being screamed at and called names by members of the general public. Still, it's not like there aren't millions of people at tech support call centers enduring the very same thing right now.

Erik Reis/Hemera/Getty Images

She's broken up five marriages, made ten jobs a living hell, and joined the Nazis six times, all before noon.

The Creepy Japanese Hugging Doll (With a Human Heartbeat)

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Digitized Information, Inc.

There are times in everyone's life when we feel alone and could use a hug, but there's nobody around. You can always call a friend, but that's no substitute for the intimate body contact you really crave. Clearly what you need is a DayGlo alien blob possessed by the soul of someone you love.

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress

Minus their annoying weekend-with-no-shower stench.

That brings us to the Hugvie, a weird robot from Japan, the land of weird robots. This vaguely humanoid lump is designed as a cuddly beanbag that you can hold tightly when you want some close-enough-to-human affection. And there's an extra twist: you can call a friend and insert your phone into the doll's head. So you can chat with your pal while cuddling their unholy blobular effigy in a way that is totally not creepy at all.

OK, it's a big squishy case for your phone? Wait, there's more; the Hugvie is equipped with a set of "internal vibrators" -- again, not creepy at all -- which simulate the heartbeat of the person you're talking to, based on sensors that detect the tone and volume of their voice. Man, there's no way this thing will turn into a sex toy five minutes after hitting the market.

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Digitized Information, Inc.

"Tell me about the new filing system at work again, baby. But this time, slower ... softer ..."

The creation of Hiroshi Ishiguro, a professor from Osaka University, the Hugvie retails at around $40. It comes available in a variety of bright colors, in case you wish to coordinate your outfit to match with your new doll. That is, if you even intend on wearing clothes when you use it.

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Digitized Information, Inc.

And if not, they've got you covered there, too.

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress

Laughter Yoga

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Antony Dickson/AFP/Getty Images

You don't need a scientist to tell you that laughter is instant mood medicine -- no human can remain stressed after, say, watching this video of a farting hippo:

So maybe it's not that shocking that some people in India have combined laughter with their most popular non-edible export to create "laughter yoga." But the results are, well, unsettling.

Laughter Yoga

Relax, close your eyes, and breeeathe in the Joker Gas.

Pioneered in the '90s by an Indian doctor named Madan Kataria, the concept is simple: wake up around 7 a.m., gather with groups of like-minded people, and force yourself to guffaw at everyone until you start laughing for real. Then there's some stretching, exercise, and meditation. This might sound pretty awesome compared to bending yourself into an origami of pain, until you actually join a session and realize you've stumbled into an open mic night for supervillains:

It winds up being a crowd of people screaming fake laughter in each other's faces, and it's oddly aggressive -- the kind of laughter you do when you're enraged and want to mock someone's ill-timed joke ("HA HA HA, I'M LAUGHING SO HARD"). Yet as terrifying as it would be to stumble across a park full of people doing it, laughter yoga has taken off around the world. Recently, a session in Australia broke the Guinness World Record for the most people gathered together in one place laughing at nothing. And all of that success stems from the claims that laughter yoga can cure, well, pretty much everything.

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Tory Zimmerman/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Except for that tiny penis they just saw.

Scientists have conducted studies to test the validity of those claims, having old depressed ladies and organ transplant patients try it out. They did record a considerable decrease in depression, but maybe not more than a regular exercise session would provide. Hey, laugh at the idea if you want -- you'll be playing right into their hands.


Their creepy, creepy T-Rex hands.

Simulating Death

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Sheng Li/Reuters

Why bother hitting the beach with some trashy novel when you could relax inside your very own death box? Dreamed up in Shenyang, China, some psychotherapists are pushing a a form of therapy that involves simulating a dirt nap in a 5-foot coffin until your stress melts away (note: they do not bury you -- there are presumably liability issues there, even in China).

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
Sheng Li/Reuters

If you want to be buried alive, you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way: piss off the mob.

The service seeks to make your death experience as realistic as possible. After writing down your last words, you're sealed in a coffin with a white sheet draped over you. There's no mention of a funeral, though it seems like that would be the best part, hearing people bemoan your loss from inside your own coffin. Maybe bring in some celebrity impersonators so that you can hear Samuel L. Jackson call you the coolest dude in the world? We're just throwing out suggestions here.

After a few minutes of playing dead, the next stage of the process involves simulating your reincarnation by playing the sound of a crying baby as the coffin lid is pulled open and you're released back into the world, presumably now stress-free. Or at least with some new perspective on your own mortality, which we admit everyone could use. It's harder to get enraged about somebody cutting you off in traffic if you remember you could be attending your own funeral instead. And have you ever seen a stressed-out vampire?

5 Certifiably Insane Things People Do to Relieve Stress
BBC News

"Can't sleep, garlic everywhere."

One psychological consultant at the clinic says that he knows it works because he tried it himself, and over 1,000 people to date have apparently paid for the privilege, so there must be some good word of mouth. Here's hoping at least one of those patients started moaning "BRAINS!" and biting the staff the moment they emerged.

T. O'Sullivan is a pseudonym for Wolf Steelmaster. Nathan Murphy wants your bizarre tweets on Twitter as they're how he relaxes. Sam Jackson sings his violent ballads for followers on Facebook and Twitter. Also, check out his friend Richard Jessee's music video.

For more odd cures that actually kind of aren't that dumb, check out 5 Creepy Medical Treatments That Actually Work and 4 New Depression Treatments You Won't Believe Actually Work.

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