Earlier today we posted an article about the possible negative effects of Virtual Reality, however, it has also been said that Virtual Reality could be the Future of Medical Training and Treatment. As we like to think of ourselves as an unbiased news source around all things VR, its only right that we also discuss the potential medical benefits that this new technology could aid.
Even though VR will seem new and futuristic when it is adopted in a main stream sense throughout 2016, medical professionals and scientists have been implementing it into various types of treatment and training for years now.
Many researchers have been using virtual reality as a way to combat phobias. A common phobia treatment that has proven successful is known as exposure therapy. Virtual reality lends itself well to this type of treatment as it provides a controlled environment where patients can face their fears and break patterns of avoidance without feeling too much discomfort.
This works in a similar way to exposure therapy and the method has been used to treat veterans suffering PTSD in clinics and hospitals when returning from warfare. Virtual reality is used to simulate warfare like situation so that veterans can learn how to cope with these scenarios in a controlled environment.
Phantom Limb Pain
Many people who lose a limb can develop tendencies of phantom limb pain. This is a condition in which people can feel high levels of pain coming from the limb that no longer exists. Virtual reality can be used as a treatment by attaching electrodes to the limb stump and using muscle signals to control a virtual reality limb and complete tasks. This is essentially like a more high-tech version of mirror therapy. Experiments into this have so far proven successful with many patients claiming dramatic pain reduction.
For me this is the most obvious application for VR in the medical world. Virtual reality can provide lifelike simulations in order to give trainee surgeons valuable experience but in a much safer environment. Trainees will be able to boost their confidence and learn new skills whilst being given constant feedback, all without ever touching (and potentially harming) a patient.
These are just a few of the already existing medical treatments and training capabilities of VR technology, who knows how far it’s potential will reach as more people get their hand on it.
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