Three French graduates have created a virtual reality program to help relax, distract and and curb a patience experience of pain and anxiety. The program, which takes patients into a three-dimensional world of Japanese zen gardens or snowy hillsides, increases the patient's tolerance for pain without having to resort to the use of drugs. The VR pain relief program can help patients undergoing procedures such as getting burns treated, cuts stitched, or a dislocated shoulder pushed back into place. Doctor Olivier Ganansia, head of the emergency department in the Paris hospital where the VR project is being tested, has stated that he expects VR to be used in hospitals routinely within 10 years.
The use of VR as a tool to combat phantom pains and distract patients at the dentist is well documented, so it shouldn't serve as a surprise that its use has moved into the emergency room. Additionally, although the use of VR in the medical profession is still experimental and generally intended to just distract the user from what ails them, there has been research that suggests that VR can also affect how the nervous system in a user responds to pain in general.
The three founders have received a monetary prize from a university in Australia for their work, and will next present their project in Seattle at Microsoft's headquarters.
Click here to read the full article on the recent use of VR in Paris, and here to read about how VR might reprogram how a person responds to pain.
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