How Virtual Reality Can Cure Our Reality Part One
Ah Virtual Reality—our digital get-away from our own world. From Beat Saber to horror video games, VR has been an incredible breakthrough in technology and gaming alike. However, what if you made VR a part of medicine? VR has been discovered to help people with real life problems such as frightening medical procedures, pain, and even childbirth! Let’s check it out.
Going under any medical procedure can be painful, let alone frightening. However, VR can counter that. For example, VR has been found to be especially effective for children that are receiving medical care. Scary experiences like having an IV inserted or going under anesthesia can be counteracted with a VR game—which is still so novel that patients become fascinated with the technology and lose focus on what’s around them (Konstantnovsky, 2017). In fact it has been found that “Kids who are engaged with VR tend to be more cooperative, less fearful and experience less pain during procedures like blood draws” (Konstantnovsky, 2017). Video games at the doctor’s office to distract me? Sign me up!
Looking outside of children and the doctor’s office, there have been studies that have discovered that VR can help and teach patients how to cope with pain. In a study about chronic pain by the company AppliedVR (a company that produces VR technology for the medical setting), found that “Participants in the VR group saw a decrease in pain intensity and pain interference with activity and stress” (Landi, 2020). A different study about VR and pain done by “the Psychology of Consciousness medical journal in September of 2015... found that adults using virtual reality while experiencing pain on average reported an 82% reduction compared to those not using VR” (The Doctors Staff, 2017). This may be a potential answer for many people that are suffering from chronic pain. Isn’t that exciting?
Another place that you might not realize VR being helpful would be for women who are in labor. With programs that are focused on helping the upcoming mother with things such as breathing, “virtual reality might offer another drug-free pain option during childbirth” (The Doctors Staff, 2017). Hey that might be a cool story to say you were born with the help of Virtual Reality!
VR has changed the world of gaming—but it would be amiss to say that video games is the only field it has influenced. Medicine and technology are a powerful combination—one that could influence hundreds of lives just through a pair of goggles.
Konstantnovsky, M. (2017, October 17). Virtual Reality helps distract kids from painful medical procedures. In How Stuff Works. Retrieved from https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/other-gadgets/virtual-reality-distract-kids-painful-medical-procedures.htm
SLandi, H. (2020, June 14). AppliedVR testing the use of at-home virtual reality therapy for chronic pain. In Fierce Healthcare. Retrieved from https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/appliedvr-testing-use-at-home-virtual-reality-therapy-for-chronic-pain