Studies conducted by Cedars-Sinai have found that they can decrease pain in hospital patients by using virtual reality. The study, done on 100 patients whereby the first half was shown calming two-dimensional videos whereas the other half was shown calming videos using virtual reality goggles.
The pain felt by the patients who wore the virtual reality goggles dropped a good 24 percent whereas those that watched calming videos on a standard two dimension video monitor with no goggles had their pain decreased by 13.2 percent, not so significant compared to the ones wearing the gawks.
The Health Service Research Managing Director of Cedars-Sinai Brennan Spiegel delved into what they deduced from the study by saying that the researchers perceive that the senses of the patients get commandeered in a friendly manner by the virtual reality which takes the patient’s mind away from their pain allowing them to manage their it differently.
Spiegel terms it as “immersive distraction” whereby the mind gets so involved in something that it engulfs them in a whole other world which alters the way the patient feels pain.
Virtual reality easing pain is exciting news as it opens up a door into a world where doctors and caretakers can have another way they can help their patients manage their pain apart from using pain medication.
The study, done at 15-minute intervals, noted that after the virtual reality video and the patient’s goggles removed, the pain sensation came back. For it to work, it seems that the patient will have to continuously watch virtual reality videos.
The Cedar-Sinai study has opened up the door for bigger studies which will look into how virtual reality affects the patients, how long they can stay in the hospital and how it affects them after they have left the hospital for good.