5 Ways Virtual Reality is Helping Healthcare


Virtual reality is a whole lot more than just a new type of entertainment, it’s increasingly used in a diverse range of medical applications, from treatments to coaching to VR entertainment.  Here are some of these.

Pain management

The parts of the brain that are linked to pain — the insula and the cortex — are less busy when a patient is immersed in virtual reality.  In some instances, it may also help people tolerate processes that are normally painful.

Other studies have also shown that amputees can benefit from VR therapy.  Amputees frequently feel severe pain and often doesn’t respond like codeine and morphine.  But a technique called “virtual mirror therapy”, which entails putting on a VR headset and also controlling a digital form of the absent limb, which appears to help some patients cope with this “phantom pain”.

 Physical therapy

VR may be used to monitor body motions, allowing patients to work with the movements of their therapy exercises as connections in a VR game.  As an instance, to be able to catch a ball that is virtual, they may want to lift an arm.

It is more fun doing exercises in virtual reality than it’s at a gym, so individuals are more motivated to exercise.  It can help in other ways also.  For instance, we discovered that for patients who are anxious about walking, we could control their surroundings so that it looks like they are moving slower than they actually are.  When we do so, they naturally accelerate their walking, however they don’t realise they’re currently doing it and so it is not associated with pain or anxiety.

Studying how folks perceive and interact with VR systems helps people design better rehabilitation applications.

 Fears and phobias

When you have an irrational fear of something, then you might think the last thing you want is to view it from virtual reality.  However, this is only one of forms of medical VR treatment.  Phobias are treated with something called therapy, where a therapist slowly introduces for their anxiety patients.  Reality is ideal for this as it can be done in the physician’s office or even at home, and may be adjusted just for the needs of every individual.  This is used to treat phobias such as fear of heights and fear of spiders, but also to help individuals recover from prying stress disorder (PTSD).

 Cognitive rehabilitation

Allowing patients to practise them and recreating these jobs in virtual environments can speed up recovery and help patients recover a higher level of function.

Doctors can also use these same digital environments as an assessment program, observing patients carrying out a selection of real-world complex jobs and identifying areas of memory loss, decreased attention or issue with determination.

Training physicians and nurses

Virtual reality is, naturally, not only for patients.  It also offers benefits.  Training physicians and nurses to perform procedures is time-consuming, and instruction needs to be delivered by a busy — and expensive — professional.  However, virtual reality is being used to learn anatomy, practise surgeries and teach infection control.

Being immersed in a realistic simulation of a process and practising the measures and techniques is far greater coaching than watching a video, or even standing at a busy room watching a specialist.  With low-cost VR equipment, controllable situations and immediate feedback, we have.

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