Why is a Mississippi businessperson talking about transcendental meditation, and why are Seattle managers paying for back rubs for employees? They're testing out new perks for today's stressed-out workforce. According to Carla Brown of the Maharishi Ayur-Veda Medical Center, a facility in Lancaster, Mass., that offers everything from transcendental meditation to astrology readings, small-business types are increasingly visible at the center, and they're sending their employees there.

Ask Jim Love. The 54-year-old founder of Love Communications Co., in Jackson, Miss., has been going to the Ayur-Veda center for years to combat hypertension. As a special perk, he says, he also paid for one prized employee, who had read a couple of books on meditation, to take its $3,100 weeklong program. Love thinks it's important to tailor incentives to fit individual employees. "Some people can benefit from a beverage in the Bahamas, while others are a perfect fit for the Ayur-Veda center," he says.

Looking to achieve stress reduction in-house? At the Seattle office of TPD Publishing Inc., a custom publisher that has offices around the world, a masseuse arrives every Tuesday, and the company foots half the bill. "People are going to be much more effective if they have balance and energy rather than if they're stressed out from bouncing from deadline to deadline," argues Simon Kelly, president and cofounder of the $25-million company.