Virtual Reality and How It Has Such a Positive Impact on Healthcare

Virtual Reality should be considered for rehabilitation to recover faster, while in a more relaxing setting and in a less painful way. Virtual Reality is technology that allows you to interact with a world that is generated by computers (ThinkQuest). There are special graphics, video images and sounds to make this pretend world seem real. There are so many uses of virtual reality; some of these uses are air traffic control, entertainment, industrial design, office, and medicine.

Virtual Reality can do many things but educating and healing are by far the most rewarding benefits of using it aside from games, virtual reality have helped pilots learn how to fly aircraft safely, as well as doctors learn how to perform surgery safely (Thinkquest). I personally have learned how to perform CPR, and place IV’s through virtual reality and I found it very effective. This being why virtual reality to me has a huge impact on society, but healthcare in general. According to Orache Education foundation, Virtual Reality emerged in the 1930’s.

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When scientists created the first flight simulation for the training of Pilots, which allowed the pilot to be put in a real life situation before actually flying. In 1965, the head mounted display was invented but as years went on it got lighter and more portable.

The 1980’s came around, then the glove came about which gave the overall concept of Virtual Reality (Thinkquest). In the 1980’s, the introduction of high performance computers and the advanced visualization programs helped bring the elements of virtual reality together ( Locker, Virtual Reality and Medicine).

There are many ways Virtual Reality benefits Healthcare. Virtual Reality helps relieve stress while exercising, heal patients whom are recovering from strokes, hand recovery for those who have Cerebral Palsy, as well as helps those who have Down Syndrome.

According to Farrell, PhD studies have been done that have shown 112 Psychology students were put in 3 trials. One trial was taking an outdoor walk, walking on a treadmill while watching a virtual video and watching the video without exercise. The mood and enjoyment was measured before and after these trials.

The results showed that students who were watching the video while exercising experienced less tension and were more relaxed than the other two trials. Virtual Reality also helps those recovering from strokes. According to Rettner 4/7/11, results from a new study show Virtual Reality games can improve the arm strength of someone after having a stroke.

Patients were more likely to improve arm strength after playing the virtual games than receiving standard Physical Therapy. Also 55-75 % of stroke patients experience impaired mobility after having a stroke; researchers say these virtual games may provide a better alternate.

Also according to Rettner, Virtual Reality games can help the brain create new connections between the nerve cells. Out of 5 studies, patients were 4. 9 times more likely to improve their upper body strength then those who did standard therapy. Virtual Reality has helped many people with Cerebral Palsy learn how to do basic everyday tasks. According to Science Daily, Virtual videogames have helped improve hand function and bone health. Virtual Reality also helps with Activities of Daily Living such as eating, dressing, cooking, brushing teeth, etc.

Virtual Reality also helps heal those with Down syndrome. According to Sullivan 4/11/11, after a series of tests were done, it was shown that using Wii gaming system on those with Down Syndrome, showed improvements with motor proficiency, visual-integrative abilities, sensory integrative functioning, fine motor tasks, higher-level motor planning and hand function. Virtual Reality has so many benefits in healthcare, not only does it help with faster recovery, but also with decreasing the amount of pain.

According to the American Pain Society, distraction through Virtual Reality technology was found to reduce pain perception after repeated exposures in a University of Maryland study. The Virtual Reality influences pain perception by competing for the subjects attention and blocking external stimulation (Medicalnewstoday). There was also a study done to check out the long term effect of adjuctive virtual reality pain treatment. Results showed the subjects had increased pain tolerance during the virtual-reality experience relative to baseline.

There were also significant decreases in rating of pain intensity, anxiety as well as the time spent thinking of pain (medical news today). Another study was done to investigate whether playing a virtual reality game decreases the pain in children from 5-18 with acute burn injuries. The results showed the average pain score was a 4. 1, while when the virtual reality was used with the pharmacological analgesia, the average pain core was 1. 3. According to Hayes, there was a clinical trial from 2006-2009 that included 18 inpatients from USAISR and proved that the virtual reality game was effective pain management and narcotic reduction.

Virtual Reality should be considered for rehabilitation to recover faster, while in a more relaxing setting and in a less painful way. Virtual Reality has so many positive effects on everyday lives of people. These games help educate people without the use of real bodies or equipment. People, who exercise, will be able to be more relaxed in the comfort of their own home, while still be fit. Recovering stroke patients will heal and regain strength and motor movement in the side that was weakened. Virtual Reality helps people suffering from Cerebral Palsy gain some independence while also improving their motor skills.

Lastly, these games help with pain and thinking less about it, while not having to use as much narcotics. There are so many wonderful things that Virtual Reality has to offer in healthcare, the fact that those suffering can be more relaxed without going straight for medication is awesome. Anything that can help those who have had injuries and who have had strokes regain their strength back is worth a shot, and if it means being able to relax while also having a little fun, then Virtual Reality is what I think is the next best thing! References Farrell, 2006 Anxiety and Stress Management from Web MD.

http://blogs. webmd. com/anxiety-and-stress-management/2006/05/benefits-of-virtual-reality. html Rettner, 2011 Stroke Patients get Boost from Virtual Reality Therapy from msnbc http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/42478849/ns/health-health_care/ Science Daily, 2010 Virtual Reality Tele-Rehab improves Hand Function: Playing Games for Real Recovery http://www. sciencedaily. com/releases/2010/01/100112135042. htm Sullivan, 2011 Effectiveness of Virtual Reality using Wii gaming technology in children with Down Syndrome from lbrb http://leftbrainrightbrain. co.

uk/2011/04/effectiveness-of-virtual-reality-using-wii-gaming-technology-in-children-with-down-syndrome/ Groh, 2011 Treadmill with Unique Virtual Reality System Promisses Numerous Health Benefits from National Aeronautics and Space Administration http://microgravity. grc. nasa. gov/articles/Article-DualTT. php Dugan, 2008 Stroke Sufferers take Virtual Road to Recovery from The Independent http://www. independent. co. uk/news/science/stroke-sufferers-take-virtual-road-to- recovery-907222. html Johnson, 2011 Virtual Reality might help Stroke Patients from Hot Hardware http://hothardware.

com/News/Virtual-Reality-Might-Help-Stroke-Patients Karen A Grimmer, Anthony L Sparnon, Sarah E McRae, and Bruce H Thomas; The efficacy of playing a virtual reality game in modulating pain for children with acute burn injuries:

A randomized controlled trial http://www. biomedcentral. com/1471-2431/5/1/abstract Repeated Virtual Reality Distraction Reduces Pain Perception http://www. medicalnewstoday. com/releases/146783. php Tahira Hayes; New Trial to Test Pain Relief Benefits of Virtual Reality Game http://www. health. mil/News_And_Multimedia/News/detail/10-12-21/New_Trial_to_Test_Pain_Relief_Benefits_of_Virtual_Reality_Ga me. aspx.

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