Healthcare Technology Featured Article

August 12, 2022

Virtual Reality: A Blessing for Physical and Mental Wellbeing




For a long time, the virtual reality (VR) industry has been seen as a gimmick or the purview of gamers and nerds. However, VR is making waves in the medical field for its potential to help people with mental health issues and chronic stress.

Some psychiatrists call it the next big treatment option for those struggling with these conditions. But what exactly is virtual reality? How does it work? And how can it be used to improve mental health outcomes? Let's explore!

What Is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) involves putting on a headset that transports you to another world, which you can explore as if it were real. It also can make you feel like you're moving around in this 3D environment and experiencing things happening there.

VR is an immersive, three-dimensional environment created using computer graphics generated by specialized computers – known as 'gaming PCs.' The technology has been used for many years in military training exercises but only recently became available to the public at home.

How Does VR Works?

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way through specific electronic equipment. VR users enter an immersive virtual world where they control what they see and hear.

The simulated environment may mimic the real world to create realistic images, sounds, and other sensations for the user. Virtual reality allows you to immerse yourself in new worlds without ever leaving your home!

VR Is an Effective Tool for Treating Mental Health Issues Like PTSD

The most obvious way VR can treat mental health conditions is by re-experiencing trauma in a safe environment. For example, veterans with PTSD may be able to relive their traumatic experiences by participating in virtual reality simulations of combat, allowing them to feel more comfortable with the situation and potentially reducing their anxiety levels.

Most people who experience trauma will have some form of psychological response after experiencing it: they might develop anxiety or depression as a result of what happened; they might become anxious when they see something that reminds them of their trauma, or they might suffer from flashbacks during which they feel like they're back in the moment where things went wrong. All these responses can negatively affect day-to-day life, making it harder for sufferers to engage in everyday activities or interact socially with others.

The challenge for therapists working with patients who have experienced traumatic events is finding ways for these individuals to cope with their feelings about those events without affecting themselves negatively again down the track. This is especially important considering how common PTSD is. One way this can happen is through gradually desensitizing patients until there's no longer anything triggering about them—they'll still remember what happened. Still, they won't react negatively when faced with reminders anymore because they've learned how to control themselves better, e.g., through relaxation exercises.

However, for a patient to go through such treatments require the assistance of professional, reliable, and trustworthy therapists. After all, reliving the trauma which affected the mental health the idea in itself is frightening for the sufferers. But if they are seeing therapists in their region and trust them, then treatment becomes less disturbing for them.

Moreover, thanks to the internet, if someone can't seem to find an expert in their region or want to seek help from a famous therapist based in, let's say, California, they can do so. Distance and commute were likely the biggest challenges for accessing mental health therapies. However, patients can now quickly seek help from California therapists online without needing to physically visit the clinic. In this manner, a mental health sufferer or their family member can find the best therapist they can trust and feel secure with online virtual reality treatment and help treat their mental issues, be it PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.

VR Helps People to Better Manage Pain

VR can help patients manage chronic pain by distracting the brain—and thus reducing stress. This is because VR allows people to engage with a narrative or activity that requires their full attention rather than focusing on how they feel. This means that patients can focus on their virtual world and its characters instead of constantly thinking about how much pain they're in or what they need to do next. In other words: if you need to relieve your chronic pain but don't have time for an actual vacation, VR could be a great alternative!

In addition to helping distract the brain from physical discomfort, VR also reduces stress responses associated with chronic illness by providing emotional support through guided meditation sessions within games like Rise Up: The Arcade Game Of Empowerment And Social Justice. By creating an immersive world where players can interact face-to-face—rather than simply reading text messages back-to-back—VR gives those suffering from mental health problems a greater sense of community and understanding.

VR May Help With Physical Therapy

VR also has the potential to improve physical therapy treatment. Patients can practice exercises in VR that they wouldn't be able to do otherwise due to their injuries or disabilities, thus helping them recover faster. This is excellent news for anyone looking for ways to improve their mobility and get back on their feet more quickly!

Paralyzed patients may use VR devices to build strength and regain control over their bodies during physical therapy. Even those with only mild paralysis will notice an improvement in mobility after just a few weeks of training with this technology.

VR Treats Children’s Mental Health Too

VR could be used to improve the mental health of pediatric patients who are in the hospital for long periods. For example, since children with cancer spend an average of 100 days in treatment, many hospitals offer specialized programs to help them cope with their illness through art therapy and other methods. With VR, these programs could become more effective by making the experience more engaging and immersive.

Conclusion

VR is an exciting technology that could significantly impact mental health. Mental illness is a severe problem, and many people suffer from it. VR can provide them with an escape from their daily struggles with anxiety, depression, or pain. The world has come a long way since the introduction of virtual reality in the 80s and 90s, but now it's time for us all to embrace this new form of therapy!









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