The Columbia company Healium has won the Procter & Gamble Ventures Innovation Challenge for its line of virtual stress-relief products.

Winning the challenge brings a $10,000 cash prize, the opportunity to partner with P&G Ventures and an invitation to join a nationally ranked accelerator with up to $200,000 in other benefits, according to a Healium news release.

Healium CEO Sarah Hill said she is looking forward to meeting with P&G to learn what the next steps will be and how the company may provide insights to help Healium realize its desire to create a “digiceuticals aisle” alongside physical hygiene products in drugstores or other retailers.

“What we’re doing is pairing a stress relief component with consumer products because stress is responsible for up to 60% of all illness and disease,” she said. “Yet, there is nothing that you can buy in your local drugstore to relieve your stress in a drugless way.”

“That is why we are excited about the opportunity to explore whether or not mental health hygiene products can be sold alongside physical hygiene products or physical over-the-counter wellness tools,” she said.

Hill said her company still has to talk with retailers before she will know how soon Healium’s products will be on shelves.

Healium is the maker of stress-relief products that provide nature-based escapes in augmented or virtual reality. It is the world’s first immersive media powered by the body’s electricity through products its customers wear, such as smart watches or EEG-sensing headbands, according to the news release.

“When you take a virtual trip to a beautiful 360 landscape, your brain believes what it sees, and the nervous system calms down almost immediately,” Jeff Tarrant, chief scientist for Healium and director of the NeuroMeditation Institute, said in the release. “When combined with our biofeedback technology, Healium is a powerful tool to change your mood and your mind.”

Healium said in the release that during the past five years, its experiences have been viewed more than 7 million times. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been used to help health care workers alleviate stress and by veterans who have been unable to visit war memorials.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • General Assignment reporter, summer 2020 Studying convergence journalism-multimedia producing Reach me at lgao@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

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