Using Virtual Reality To Reduce Anxiety And Pain Is Not As New As We Might Expect


Virtual reality (VR) is cataloged as one of the main trends in technology, capable of changing the way we communicate and interact with video games and movies. However, doctors are using virtual reality to reduce anxiety and pain for decades.

A Samsung Gear VR has been used as a treatment method in a kid

After Blaine Baxter, a 10-year-old boy, injured his arm in a go-kart accident last year, the painful daily bandage changes in the hospital made him so anxious that he had to be sedated during the process.

Two weeks after his stay at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford, a team of pain specialists recommended him to play with the Samsung Gear VR.

That was such an effective distraction that he never needed to be sedated again. He went from being afraid of the procedure to embark happily on adventures in the deep sea and destroy hamburgers in outer space in virtual reality games.

The specialists’ recommendation was immediately integrated into the hospital’s Chariot program, which is the abbreviation of Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology.

Chariot’s team works with developers to create games like Pebbles The Penguin, in which a penguin collects pebbles, in addition to the game Spaceburgers, in which players eliminate flying objects, including hamburgers.

Doctors are using virtual reality to reduce anxiety and pain for decades

Virtual reality is cataloged as one of the next great trends in technology, capable of changing the way we communicate and interact but, in spite of the support of the main technological players such as Facebook, Samsung, and Google, this technology has not yet spread massively among consumers, yet.

In contrast, among the medical community, virtual reality has been used for decades to help people overcome phobias and anxiety disorders.

The arrival of lighter and cheaper products on the market has made it easier to use virtual reality in healthcare settings, from training medical students and midwives to helping stroke victims regain motor function.

Now, more and more researchers and hospitals are discovering the use of virtual reality to reduce anxiety and pain during processes such as bandage changes, intravenous medication placement or epidural administration. It can also help patients to relax before or after a surgical procedure.



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