Virtual Reality for Pain: Innovation

How can Virtual Reality be used to influence the brain? What are the possibilities if your problem cannot be literally translated to VR? Learn about VR innovation.

VR and the emotional brain

In the previous blog I described how many literal treatments for complaints are increasingly being translated into VR. The part of the brain where fears arise (the emotional part of the brain), makes little distinction between the 'real world' and VR. By copying the real world to VR, someone can easily practice with it. 

One step further than reality

Because the emotional part of our brain makes little distinction between reality and VR, there are ultimately many more treatment options. If we know what image or idea people have of their own complaint, they can be 'exposed' to it in a VR innovation. In this way, someone can get a grip on a problem that is not as literal as a clear fear of something in the outside world. But, for example, more 'internal problems' such as depression, burn-out, or in the case of Reducept: pain complaints. 

Getting a grip on complaints, by forming a different image of your problem, is not new. Many healthcare professionals, especially psychologists, helps people to get a different picture of their problem. By looking at complaints in a different way, it becomes possible to do something about them, or to accept them. A number of examples:

  • Fear is a healthy system that can be trained.
  • The brain is flexible and can unlearn what has been learned.
  • The body warns with a burnout that you are asking too much of yourself. 

The strategies of the therapist renewed: VR innovation

There are many ways to form a different picture of your symptoms. From writing therapy, to formulating helpful thoughts and mindfulness meditation. 

And that's where it gets interesting! The possibilities of not literally translating these strategies into a VR innovation, but rather to use the unique possibilities of VR! By applying VR we can create an emotionally convincing environment that has more impact on our pain! 

Louis Zantema
Louis Zantema, MSc

Louis is a GZ-Psychologist with a great passion for gaming. For him, a game training that offers therapy is the most valuable thing you can develop: especially for pain complaints, which are on the interesting intersection of body and mind. His aim is to make himself dispensable as a therapist.

22 November 2019 - 19:58