Massage seats could be “key” to beating stress and anxiety as the UK faces the most miserable day of the year, French car maker DS Automobiles claims.
Yesterday, January 20, was dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ by a Cardiff University professor, after he decided the third Monday in January would be the day on which Brits were most despondent. That statement was based on little in the way of science, and was actually devised for a PR company flogging sun-soaked getaways, but it has stuck and Blue Monday is now ‘a thing’.
And premium car brand DS says it has stumbled upon the perfect way to de-stress and tackle the January blues: massage seats. According to the Paris-based firm, the high-tech seats “could be the key to improving driver alertness, reducing anxiety and enhancing well-being”.
The company claims “studies” show a 15-minute chair massage is enough to improve driver “well-being” and can aid concentration on longer journeys. Citing research by the Touch Research Institute, the company says a seat massage and ventilated seats can help lower the body’s level of cortisol — a hormone released by the body to combat stress — by up to 53 percent.
A recent study found that nine in 10 motorists find driving stressful, and Department for Transport (DfT) figures show driver “impairment or distraction”, including fatigue and illness, were a contributory factor in 15 percent of road accidents in 2018. As a result, DS says massage seats could even improve safety.
The company also claims the modern work environment could be having an effect on motorists. The firm says working hours are increasing, and drivers who operate vehicles for long periods of time can experience uncomfortable tension and anxiety on long journeys leading to back and neck pain, poor posture and stress.
Vince Clisham, head of product at DS Automobiles UK, said the rigours of modern motoring made fatigue a greater risk, and he was “confident” massage seats could help improve safety and make for a more pleasant drive.
“It’s evident that driver distraction and fatigue contributes significantly towards the possibility of road accidents on UK roads every year, with modern day driving, especially long journeys and challenging traffic conditions, often leading to feelings of stress and anxiety,” he said. “DS is committed to ensuring its customers are as safe as possible on the road, and we’re confident our in-car seat massage function will help with this and enhance driver experience.”