By definition, virtual reality provides a simulated experience that can mirror the real world whilst being immersive and interactive.
Although the first emergence of virtual reality is often disputed, the 70’s signalled the first signs of the technology becoming more mainstream with pilots and healthcare professionals integrating VR devices into their respected training programmes.
Fast-forward to the 21st century and the advanced developments in software and headsets have meant the world of virtual reality can be beneficial to professionals and consumers across a variety of industries and sectors.
For example, the potential gains of incorporating VR technology alongside the knowledge of a therapist or psychologist are enormous, to have the ability to combine traditional mental health interventions and practices with cutting-edge technology can only be seen as a good thing.
In this example, through utilising VR technology therapists could place clients in safe, controlled and ecologically valid situations to safely recreate anxiety and complex feelings which can then help to be treated in the moment.
Even though this form of treatment is in its infancy, we have already seen suggestions that VR therapy successfully treating anxiety, phobias and depression make headlines.
We’ve taken a look at some of the businesses that are at the forefront of creating VR solutions to aid the improvement of mental health.
A spin-out from Oxford University and built on two decades of research and innovation led by Professor Daniel Freeman. OxfordVR is on a mission to transform mental health for millions with VR therapy.
OxfordVR creates psychological interventions based on proven treatment protocols that are delivered through state-of-the-art immersive technology, that a coach or therapist can advise the client on how to react.
From creating powerful simulations of scenarios where psychological difficulties appear, immersive therapy has been proven to reduce patients fears by 68%.
So far, OxfordVR has run successful programs to treat fear of heights and social anxiety and we’re excited to see what 2022 has in store for the business.
Committed to tackling the epidemic of anxiety-related disorders, BehaVR is a new kind of digital therapeutics company redefining how people can access and experience care.
BehaVR’s programmes are focused on helping people take real steps forward in their mental health journey, this is achieved by allowing patients to immerse themselves in a new world to work on what makes them feel stressed, anxious, or fearful.
Each of BehaVR’s digital therapeutics programmes is centred around three core principles, helping to reduce stress levels, telling patients how to build coping skills to deal with anxiety better and training the mind to overcome fear.
A global leader in digital neuro-therapeutic solutions on a quest to accelerate the brain’s ability to recover, learn and adapt.
MindMaze develops medical-quality virtual reality products to stimulate neural recovery from diseases such as Strokes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Since Dr Tej Tadi founded MindMaze in 2012, the business has gone on to become Switzerland’s first Unicorn and has offices in Switzerland, London, Paris, India, and the US.
Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated 275 million people suffered from anxiety disorders, which at the time was around 4% of the global population. COVID-19 has worsened the crisis by adding an estimated 76 million cases.
Sympatient, based in Germany combines traditional cognitive behavioural therapy methods with virtual reality to create the world’s first digital anxiety clinic, meaning patients can receive the very best therapy from the comfort of their own homes.
Through using the power of VR, patients can be exposed to their individual anxiety disorders whilst being coached through the session by a licensed therapist.
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