A team of British researchers wanted to test if a bit of VR distraction could provide some kind of relief for the pain or anxiety that suffer dentist patients.

 

 

 

Virtual Coastal Walks Reduce Pain and Anxiety

UK researchers enlisted a group of 79 people who needed a cavity filled or a tooth pulled and divided them into three groups: one viewed a tranquil coastal scene in Virtual Reality, one experienced City VR, and the other one nothing.

The result was both pretty obvious and what was expected but nevertheless quite surprising because the effects were instantaneous, almost like a miracle. The test subjects who watched the calm coastal scene in VR experienced much less pain than the other patients and showed almost no anxiety.

Surprisingly, the group who watched city VR felt the same pain and stress that experienced the group with no VR headsets. So it’s not Virtual Reality per se what reduces pain and anxiety in dentist patients, it’s the ability that VR has to project an immersive calm image that chills out people.

“Data shows that nature can improve the experience of health care procedures through the use of VR and that the content of the VR matters: Coastal nature is better than urban.” Says the paper.

So it’s not enough to distract patients with random VR images, it seems that nature is far more efficient and likely to calm patients during stressful dentist treatments. And since you can’t easily watch through the window while you are laying down with your mouth wide open, VR headsets come in real handy for these situations.

Source: Sage Journals

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