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Parma 'rage room' offers a place to take out your frustrations

But psychologists say do it for entertainment, because venting aggression could lead to more aggressive behavior.

PARMA, Ohio — The noise of hammering and smashing coming from a from a storefront on Ridge Road in Parma, sounds like construction.

But it's actually the delight of destruction.

"Oooh, this is fun, yeah," said Ashley Krakowski. "I've been wanting to do this," she said after taking a baseball bat to a wine bottle.

Enraged, LLC is believed to be the first rage room, also known as a smash room, to open in Northeast Ohio. It's in the business of "destruction therapy."

Owner Jordan Fleischer saw rage rooms gaining popularity in other states, and thought the Cleveland area could use one.

"Cleveland was voted one of the angriest cities in the country," Fleischer said with a laugh. "If you're having a bad day at work, you come here, and I clean it up," he said.

Indeed, the website, Thrillist, ranked Cleveland the second angriest city in America in 2016, writing:

And sure, the downtrodden sports fan thing is everyone’s shorthand go-to for Cleveland, but it’s also so powerful quite specifically BECAUSE Clevelanders have so very much to be angry about, and yet the passionately followed local teams fail time and time again to assuage that anger, even just a little bit, just for one glorious day. All the Great Lakes Christmas Ale in the world can’t make that right.

For $15, you can spend 5 minutes inside a room, armed with a crowbar and a baseball bat, annihilating TV's, bottles, glasses, and old electronics. For $50, you can spend 20 minutes in the room, with bigger items to smash. Fleischer jokes, you can even tape a picture of an ex, and take a swing at it. Participants are required to sign an injury waiver, and wear protective gear.

We recruited two strangers to suit up and give it a try. After 10 minutes of smashing a big screen TV, bottles, and the like, Alejandro Moreno and Joe Pinzone were sweating and out of breath.

"It was awesome! It was pretty cool," laughed Moreno. "Just the fact that there was no restriction. You just go for it, and that's what I really liked. You just beat it up, and no one's going to tell you, you can't," he said. 

Pinzone added, "I didn't know I had that kind of rage in me. It was fun."

Psychologists say catharsis, or venting pent-up emotions, can feel good because a person's brain is getting drenched in the pleasure chemical called dopamine. However, it is short-lived.

"Our brains just go back to doing what they were doing," said Dr. Scott Bea, a psychologist from the Cleveland Clinic. For some people, venting aggression could actually lead to more aggressive behavior.

"With real anger, we need to develop some other skills -- ways to quiet our bodies, quieting our minds, being better communicators," said Bea. "We need to learn how to communicate our feelings in a respectful way."

"But as a lark, as a way to release tension, it's fine," he said.

Fleischer also offers group rates for companies looking for a unique team building event. Enraged, LLC is located at 5595 Ridge Road in Parma.

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