Healthy Survivors deal with their reality in healthy ways. At times, the best way to manage a challenge may be to escape reality. Huh?
Ongoing research suggests that virtual reality (VR) headsets ”aren’t just for fun. They may be able to help with medical treatment.” In a study done at Cedars-Sinai, VR significantly reduced pain in a small group of hospitalized patients and was most effective for severe pain. That’s hopeful news.
How does it work? “By overwhelming the…senses, VR is thought to create an immersive distraction that restricts the brain from processing pain.”
Some hospitals and clinics are already using VR for a variety of conditions. As discussed in a 2018 WSJ piece, researchers still have a lot to figure out. Besides clarifying how it works, we need to learn which patients respond best, which patients might suffer negative effects (and how to prevent such effects), and how to optimize the benefit. Then there’s the issue of cost.
Healthy Survivors set the stage for happiness by (1) making their reality the best it can be and (2) developing skills that enable them to manage challenges—not escape them.
Even if VR works to help patients deal with chronic conditions such as pain and anxiety, Healthy Survivors aren’t going to want to live life in a virtual reality all the time. I see VR becoming a standard non-pharmacologic tool for helping patients…
Get through rough spots, such as painful procedures
Develop techniques for managing chronic conditions without VR (like using training wheels on a bike).