Can Virtual Reality (VR) heal you? Several trials are under way to find out.
There have been many studies that show that your mind can at the very least speed up your healing, if you can focus its power through mindfulness.
So, it is no surprise that VR is being experimented with in helping patients deal with pain, gain confidence in their treatment and keep a positive mindset.
My own experience with VR has mainly been for entertainment or storytelling. I have had the opportunity to experience the groundbreaking work that The Void is creating, and even though part of my brain was telling me, “You are not on a skid gliding over lava”, my knees were buckling anyway.
I also have experience the power VR can have in creating empathy for nonprofit cause. So, why can’t it reach your brain in other ways that may help you heal?
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital believes it can. They have employed VR as part of their treatment of sickle cell disease. Severe pain is a hallmark of the disease and opioids are typically deployed to give relief.
The hospital is experimenting with a 15 minute VR experience sending patients through an underwater world full of turtles, whales and dolphins.
VR creates a distraction, but it may be more than that. VR can engage an area of the brain directly related to pain, so the distraction actually can reduce the intensity of pain reported by the patient.
Right now VR is being deployed in hospitals for pain management, but the hope is that the same type of treatment will eventually happen right in the home, reducing emergency room visits.
In addition to pain management, VR has been effective in combatting depression and increasing the effectiveness of medicine and other treatments for diseases like cancer.
Are you ready for the “VR Pharmacy”? Put on a head set, and immerse yourself in good health!