At-Home Virtual Reality Therapy
As virtual reality (VR) technology advances, doctors and therapists have started utilizing it in rehabilitation treatments and physical medicine. Although this kind of therapy is still in the early stages of development, it has already helped therapists transform rehabilitative exercises into real-life situations for their patients.
Moreover, this ground breaking technology can also be used to supplement traditional therapies to keep patients engaged and motivated. Because it also garners the factor of having fun, patients are likely to engage more and make additional efforts to focus and reach the set goals of the therapy program. Each program can be adjusted according to the patient’s needs, depending on their particular condition and needs, and greatly help in treating whatever they are trying to battle.
The fact is that virtual medical reality holds a lot of promise. It has sparked the attention of not just science fiction fans but also clinical researchers and medical professionals. And even though VR is still a relatively young subject, there are more and more examples of how technology positively impacts patients’ lives and physicians’ jobs.
Virtual reality for rehabilitation was becoming increasingly popular before the coronavirus pandemic for various reasons, including fast developments in hardware and software technology and a younger generation of therapists who were more comfortable with it. However, the increased acceptability of tele-health during the epidemic has boosted its use even further, which is why innovative tech health companies are heavily investing in the development of programs like virtual reality systems for physical therapy to help patients rehabilitate with this new approach in medicine.
Below, we’ll take a look at the two most prominent use-cases of at-home VR therapy and how it can help patients achieve results like no other treatment procedure can.
The Positive Impact Of VR Technology For Rehabilitation And Therapy
To begin with, the most important benefits that VR technology brings to rehabilitation and therapy include: having complete control over the stimulus and its consistency, it provides the capability to alter the stimuli from simple to more intricate ones, the ability to quickly grade and record the patient’s progress thus ensuring a safe learning environment, the ability to provide individualized treatment (based on the diagnosis and patient’s needs), impact on the patient’s motivation through the ability to include virtual reality.
As you can tell, VR offers a relatively affordable rehabilitation environment in the field of motor rehabilitation, allowing for the effective inclusion of exercise repetition, evaluation of the effects, and motivation for sticking to an increased number of repeated workouts, all of which are critical components of this type of rehabilitation. Furthermore, VR is utilized in the rehabilitation process of post-stroke and brain damage patients, in the orthopaedic rehabilitation of Parkinson’s disease patients, in balancing exercises, and in the practice of everyday tasks in this regard.
Furthermore, virtual reality technology could be utilized to acquire and practice new abilities, assess and practice physical or cognitive functioning, improve social involvement, and improve the overall quality of life. According to the researchers, VR has been employed as an assistive device in a variety of activities.
As in the case of blind children, the virtual world can provide auditory or tactile inputs via which the kid can learn and gain new abilities. Restricting the number of impulses, encouraging children to concentrate on a specific activity, and progressively increasing the number of stimuli can be developed within a particular type of VR in children with autism spectrum deficits. In addition, therapists permitted kids with cerebral palsy to use a haptic interface to visit a virtual scientific laboratory and control things in it.
Researchers have created virtual environments that allow students with developmental disabilities to improve their skills in everyday activities such as visiting a post office or a supermarket, moving around inside a virtual house, driving in a virtual city with traffic and pedestrian crossings, skiing on virtual hills, and so on. They also examine the prospect of employing virtual reality to improve perceptual-motor skills and cognitive-spatial abilities in children with physical disabilities and the child’s sense of independence, confidence, and personal control.
In young patients, especially those who are overweight and use a bariatric bed in their home, VR-enabled communication (video conferencing with relatives and friends, exchange of interactive multimedia, etc.) provides a facility that aids children in coping with their illness and making their time in the hospital more bearable. Therefore, VR has been employed in various research, and its effects are being investigated through rehabilitation programs based on commercially accessible video game systems such as Nintendo and Wii6-9.
Besides that, researchers emphasize the need for more VR development and research in terms of target groups and areas of concern, which necessitates the evaluation of educational and rehabilitation programs based on VR and the transfer of the results into the patient’s real life.
VR Rehabilitation For Children With Physical Traumas
Virtual reality (VR) is a cutting-edge learning method based on computer technology. Researchers address the issues of adding virtual reality in creating new interactive systems for children with sensorimotor impairments as part of their examination of interactive activities for children with sensorimotor impairments. Furthermore, virtual reality in rehabilitation and treatment considers areas such as activation intensity of muscle groups, kinds, extent and speed of movement, eye-hand coordination, exhaustion factor, and others when evaluating sensorimotor rehabilitation programs.
Researchers also examined youngsters with acquired brain damage (traumatic injuries, tumours, infections) to a healthy control group to see how VR affected them. The findings revealed that there was a statistically significant difference between the groups, with the group without a brain injury achieving better results.
There was also a significant correlation between activities in VR and certain attention factors and self-care abilities. Furthermore, after VR, both groups demonstrated high levels of happiness and joy. The study’s overall conclusion is that virtual reality has the potential to be used in the rehabilitation of younger patients with acquired brain injuries, mostly in the areas of improving attention span, motivating self-care and improved functioning of hands and arms.
For most people in today’s environment, computers are a source of entertainment. People can spend countless hours of screen time and browse through the internet’s vast network, from sports and cartoons, to check who is the catholic online saint of the day, indicating that interactive games effectively retain a patient’s attention.
Apart from the incentive component, computer technology benefits from the practice element closely reflecting real-life events, allowing the user to make errors and learn in a secure setting. VR provides a unique framework in which rehabilitative and therapy treatments may be delivered in a practical, meaningful, and compelling environment that can be easily assessed and documented.
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