Blend Media puts VR to work to relieve stress and pain

Immersive experiences are having positive effects on patients within areas such as palliative care, distraction therapy and pain management. A recent study by Cedars-Sinai Research found that patients experienced a 24 per cent reduction in pain after only 10 minutes of using a special visualisation.

Now, VR firm Blend Media is working with medical professionals to use immersive content within the wellness space to help destress, relax and revitalise employees working in stressful environments, patients leading up to operations, and students during busy study periods.

Manzlab VR Medical is using Blend Media’s 360 content to distract volunteers while they donate blood at medical centres throughout France, Relax VR is licensing Blend Media’s content to help companies provide stress relieving solutions for staff, and Rescape is using the company’s immersive experiences to distract patients whilst they undergo various treatments.

Rescape has also licensed a number of Blend Media’s 360 videos and is including them in a new VR solution that they have created as a distraction tool for patients undergoing treatment. The solution, named DR.VR was trialled with Llandough Hospital in the Vale of Glamorgan for distraction therapy during cystic fibrosis treatment. The results from the trial were overwhelmingly positive, with patients experiencing the content within DR.VR seeing an average reduction of stress/anxiety of 75 per cent and an average reduction of pain of 37.5 per cent.

“Cystic fibrosis is an illness that requires a lot of time-consuming and isolating treatment, which often impacts the patient’s anxiety levels and ability to cope,” said Dr Jamie Duckers of Llandough Hospital. “By having the opportunity to break up the monotony and strain of treatment through immersive VR content, patients have been able to momentarily escape the hardship of dealing with the treatments of the disease and have reported impressive reductions in pain and anxiety levels. I can see virtual reality distraction therapy being a useful adjunct in treatment.”

Glenn Hapgood, head of innovation and product development at Rescape Innovation, said: “There is a lot of evidence to suggest that VR and 360 video can be used to improve the patient experience, reduce stress, anxiety, and pain, but until now the high cost and complex technology has prevented mass adoption. We are excited to launch this new project which will help to tap into this market and potentially drive some significant benefits for patients. Blend Media was the go-to-choice of partner as they are able to offer affordable, extensive and engaging content that can be easily used in headsets.”