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Take a Mental Ergonomic Break

July 23, 2001|Benedict Carey

You are not slumped in a chair, grinding your teeth, staring at the computer.

You are ... in a quiet bay, at sunrise, listening to the gulls, floating on the scent of the sea.

As if surfing the Net weren't already coma-inducing enough, a company in New York is now offering a design-your-own hypnosis program, which can be downloaded for $12.99.

Although psychologists are skeptical of self-hypnosis, the Web site (http://www.hypnosoft.com) is counting on the legions of office workers who spend their days gawking at computer screens to jump at the chance for a kind of mental-ergonomic break.

The program's hypnotic soundtrack is meant to deliver you to a relaxing place of your imagining, whether it's outer space, a desert or your own sofa, with all the sounds (food cooking, singing, laughing) and smells (the forest, perfume, paint) you choose.

Is it any better than getting up and taking a walk around the block?

Psychologists doubt it. But it will be fun trying to convince your boss that the soothing sounds playing over your computer are helping your job performance, fitness, substance abuse, credit card wisdom or any of the other dozens of issues the site claims to address.

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