Most debates concerning VR headsets are about which one provides a better gaming experience. This is probably their most popular usage, but not the only one. In fact, virtual reality is part of some very important projects that can improve our lives and really make a difference. Healthcare is one of the fields where these gadgets play an essential part. Not only are they used for training and simulations, but they can also help people go through therapy in a more efficient and safe way.
Changing the General Opinion
Gaming is usually the first thing that comes to mind when you mention virtual reality. And games don’t always have a good reputation. On the one hand, they are addictive, and people, especially teenagers have been spending much more than the recommended time playing them. That leads to health problems and even obesity in some cases. On the other hand, many of these games are quite violent so there are many voices against them. They can put violent thoughts into easily influenced minds that spend too much in virtual reality.
But lately, it has become obvious that there is more to VR than games. And one of the most eloquent examples of serious uses is therapy and mental health. This is such a delicate and difficult matter, and virtual headsets are helping a lot. People are now seeing virtual reality as an essential tool and technological breakthrough.
Mental illness and distress are not easy to handle. Mostly because these are very personal experiences, from symptoms and reactions to the path therapists choose to take to help their patients. That’s why using virtual reality is a huge help, although not a cure by itself. It’s more of an aid that the specialist can use to tailor the therapeutical treatment to individual needs. And since statistics show that mental illnesses have been increasing, this help couldn’t have come at a better time.
Phobias are a perfect example of how virtual therapy can help. Exposure therapy is one of the treatment steps specialists often choose. And it’s much easier if things are done in a virtual environment where details are easy to control, and there is no physical danger. In addition, the therapist can stop the process at any time an bring the patient back to the familiar environment.
Anxiety is also successfully treated using virtual reality. It can expose the patient to the triggering factor in a controlled environment so things don’t get out of control. The newly implemented eye-tracking feature is especially helpful in addressing anxiety.
But the greatest impact of virtual reality headsets in therapy is probably in treating PTSD. These patients need an even more delicate and complex approach and probably benefit the most from the use of virtual reality.
VR heads sets aren’t used only for mental illness. Things are slowly starting to move in the physical therapy segment as well. Paired with biofeedback, virtual reality is being used to treat cerebral palsy, for instance. It’s also of great help in treating chronic pain. Not to mention it is a great tool for diagnostics.
The Next Step
It’s clear that things are moving forward, and we have merely scratched the surface on how useful virtual reality can be. There are so many domains that can benefit from it, but healthcare definitely remains on top. So, everyone is waiting to see what future brings for virtual reality.