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Ten minutes in virtual reality can clearly reduce the pain of cancer patients

Ten minutes in virtual reality can clearly reduce the pain of cancer patients

April 8, 2024 – 1:52 pm

Although virtual reality (VR) is still not at the level that can replace the real thing – as the ugly fall of the metaverse showed – it is undeniable that it has advantages beyond entertainment. Just think about when virtual reality goggles were given to cows in Turkey to make them produce more milk, or that virtual reality, according to recent research, could reduce the suffering of cancer patients suffering from chronic pain.

In the American Cancer Society's Cancer Journal In research published on Monday Researchers have turned their attention to virtual reality because it has already been shown countless times that the therapeutic use of virtual reality headsets can reduce patients' pain in a wide range of diseases. On the other hand, no one has yet verified its success with cancer patients, so in this research, 128 people were investigated to see if it had a positive effect on them as well.

Some patients were sent ten minutes of virtual reality therapy, while others were also given ten minutes of distraction exercises on a tablet. The two groups were similar on all important factors, even their use of opioids was similar. Initially, improvement appeared to be seen in both groups, but VR therapy participants reported twice the improvement on average – meaning an improvement of 1.4 on a pain scale from 0 to 10.

Moreover, this improvement continued after 24 hours, and even increased, as the decrease for them reached 1.7, while the other group had a decrease of only 0.3.

VR therapists also indicated that pain, regardless of its intensity, bothered them less than before, and spoke positively about the method. Hunter Groninger, who led the research, said that based on their findings, virtual reality could be a useful way to relieve pain in cancer patients. He also added that in the future its effectiveness should be tested in a home environment, and one day it will be possible to prescribe such a home remedy to them in addition to traditional medicines.

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