Virtual reality being trialled to ease stress in childbirth

  • A new trial scheme is testing the use of Virtual Reality headsets to reduce stress and anxiety associated with childbirth

    VR headsets may have started life as primarily gaming peripherals, but in recent years there's been a push toward using the emerging tech as a therapeutic device. Experiments have already demonstrated the profound effects of VR experiences on people's emotional states, with the technology being used to help older people with dementia and more.

    Now a new trial is underway to use VR in a new therapeutic setting as doctors in one UK hospital have begun a trial to see if a VR environment can effectively reduce the stress, anxiety, and pain associated with childbirth. The tech is being supplied by medtech VR specialists Rescape Innovation at a cost of around £4,000 per year for each headset.

    The trial is of a form of something called "distraction therapy" wherein the patient is placed into an artificial environment to give them something else to focus on, and the goal is to reduce the sensation an response to pain. The controlled environment also allows the technology to help patients with existing breathing and relaxation techniques, with potential for biofeedback techniques to be used.

    Source: BBC News, Header Image (c) Rescape Innovation

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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