A new Cedars-Sinai study revealed that virtual reality therapy is the new and most effective way to address pain related issues of patients who have been admitted in the hospital. Over 100 hospitalized patients were tested who were reported to have pain over score 3. Out of these 50 patients were tested with virtual reality goggles and they received virtual reality pain therapy. They were made to watch relaxing and calming scenes such as images of oceans and whales swimming or scenic landscapes from helicopters. These patients were reported to have witnessed a drop of around 24% in their pain scores after employing the virtual reality goggles.
What was the result of the other 50 patients?
The other 50 patients who were treated differently viewed standard, 2D videos depicting nature, relaxing scenes along with audio tracks and on very close proximity screens. Even though these patients also witnessed a drop in their pain levels, their result was comparatively low and less dramatic than the ones who underwent the virtual reality therapy. They experienced a pain drop of only 13.2%. The results indicated that virtual reality, in future can be used as an effective way to address the pain related issues of hospitalized patients.
How does it work?
Although it remains still unknown how virtual reality therapy works so efficiently over the other ones of its kind, the researchers say that it is immersive distraction. The mind is engaged deeply in the experience that is almost like a reality and is stimulating to the surroundings it thinks it is seeing. It becomes rather difficult at these moments to feel other stimulus such as pain. VR seems to hijack the senses in a good way and prohibits the mind from processing the feeling of pain.