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VR moves beyond relaxation to easing pain

While the recent World Spa & Wellness Africa Convention highlighted how virtual reality (VR) can be used in the spa to enhance relaxation, a new report from Reuters Health suggests VR can also ease pain.

The report, written by Lisa Rapaport, details how 120 hospitalised patients in a study had rated their pain as at least a 3 out of 10 over the previous 24 hours. Fifty-percent of the patients were given VR headsets to use three times a day over the next 48 hours, while the other half (the control group) watched health and wellness programming on the television in their rooms. Programmes included guided relaxations, poetry readings and health topic discussions.

The VR patients reported an average decline in pain scores of 1.72 points, compared with an average decrease of 0.46 points for the control group.

According to Reuters, the study concluded that VR ‘creates an illusion of time acceleration, effectively shortening the length of pain episodes’.

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