(NPR) — Virtual reality experiences can be an effective strategy for reducing pain — more so than watching TV — a new study has found. Scientists say “immersive distraction” seems to be key to the success.
A recent study found virtual reality experiences were better at easing pain than watching televised nature scenes. Immersive distraction seems key to the success, scientists say.
A study published this month in the journal PLOS ONE is just the latest to document that an immersive, virtual reality experience can be an effective strategy for reducing pain.
VR “changes the way we perceive the pain,” explains study author Brennan Spiegel, a physician and the director of Cedars-Sinai Health Services Research in Los Angeles.
The research was done in a hospital where participants were undergoing treatment for various conditions; some were experiencing pain linked to cancer and others had orthopedic pain. “We divided the patients into two groups,” Spiegel explains.