How Can Virtual Reality Help Healthcare?

The ability to connect virtual reality technology to smartphone devices has unsurprisingly made the trend more popular than ever. For the most part, virtual reality is used by the general public for entertainment purposes by way of video game play. However, an increasing number of researchers and physicians believe virtual reality can have therapeutic uses as well. In fact, virtual reality uses in the healthcare market has grown from $525 million in 2012 to $976 million in 2017.

How is virtual reality is currently making an impact on the healthcare industry? Here are the top potential uses for virtual reality technology in healthcare:

PTSD

PTSD, also referred to Post-traumatic stress disorder, is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the United States and may very well be one of the most difficult conditions to treat. This disorder has become more widely known since 69,000 new cases were reported in 2013 from diagnosed Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Research also shows one in three people who experience any type of traumatic experience will experience PTSD. Unknown to many, PTSD disorders can be inactive for many years and be triggered by any event that makes the individual with the condition remember their traumatic experience.  

How can virtual reality help? Virtual reality can assist those who suffer from PTSD by placing them in pleasant environments and regulate the stimulus provided to them.  

Fitness

It’s no secret that much of the U.S. population is becoming more fitness conscious. There has been a significant increase in fitness apps and devices and by the looks of it, virtual  reality will have a huge impact as well. More and more people are researching and purchasing equipment that will virtually transport them to the destination of their choice for their workouts. Anyone who has ever imagined taking a jog on the beach or doing yoga in the rain forest would be better now have the ability to do so.

Quit smoking

For years, we have seen a surplus in ads that detail how bad smoking is for our planet and our individual health. While there have been products on the market such as nicotine gums, patches, and e-cigarettes virtual reality is seems to be a promising alternative.

Through the use of biofeedback, mindfulness, and psychological techniques – virtual reality can connect current smokers with non-smokers to help them bring an end to their smoking habits.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

If you’re a gamer, know a gamer, or have children who are gamers you must know of the motion sensory additive to the popular xbox 360 and xbox one devices known as the Microsoft Kinect. The original purpose of the Kinect was to allow players to interact and control gameplay without using controllers and instead rely on spoken commands and gestures. Virtual reality can transcend gameplay and help those in need of physical therapy and rehabilitation by helping them achieve their therapeutic goals without even knowing they are participating in physical therapy.