Virtual Reality (VR) is not a new technology, and has over two decades of research supporting its high clinical efficacy. It is a powerful tool for the treatment of mental health & behavioural issues.
Studies have shown that Virtual Reality can evoke the same reactions, thoughts and emotions as experiences in a real-world situation. i.e. visiting a virtual beach can make you feel the same way as you would on a real beach!
Numerous studies have shown that Virtual Reality based treatments are more efficient and more effective at reducing stress and anxiety than some traditional techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
The use of relaxation techniques such as those used in Relax VR have been shown to have a number of benefits:
• Increased quality of life and emotional well-being (Varvogli & Christina Darviri, 2011)
• Reduced anxiety, stress, fatigue and/or depression (Chen, Huang, Chien & Cheng, 2017; Klanin-Yobas, Oo, Suzanne-Yew & Law, 2015, Kwekkeboom & Bratzke, 2016, Nooner, Dwyer, DeShea & Yeo, 2016; Zhou et al., 2015)
• Highly recommended for individuals with insomnia (Jerath, Beveridge & Barnes, 2019, Lan et al., 2002)
• Enhanced performance and recovery in athletes (Kellmann, Pelka & Beckmann, 2018; Parnabas, Mahamood, Parnabas & Meera-Abdullah, 2014))
• Positive effects during pregnancy (Fink, Urech, Caveti & Adler, 2012; Urech, Fink, Hoesli, Wilhelm, Bitzer & Adler, 2014, Yeager, 2019)
Virtual reality has been shown to be effective at:
• Overcoming stress and anxiety disorders more effectively and efficiently than traditional Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT) programs (Krijn,Emmelkamp, Olafsson, & Biemond, 2004; Meyerbröker & Emmelkamp, 2010; Opriset al., 2012, Parsons & Rizzo, 2008; Powers & Emmelkamp, 2008; Turner& Casey, 2014)
The Psychology Department of the Universitat de Vic - Universitat Central de Catalunya, Spain used Relax VR in a study with 30 participants which examined the efficacy of VR in inducing relaxation and positive emotions in a non clinical sample.
The study found that Relax VR was able to:
• Significantly reduce the levels of anxiety and negative emotions on the participants.
• Promote a positive mood in the participants
• The use of VR for relaxation represents a promising approach as a stress management tool.
Universidad de Córdoba, Argentina used Relax VR in a study with 62 participants which evaluated whether the inclusion of a therapeutic narrative (breath awareness meditation) in a virtual environment can increase the analgesic (pain-relieving) effects of VR during a cold-pressor experiment.
The study found that Relax VR's meditation significantly increased in the participants:
• Pain tolerance
• Pain threshold, and
• Levels of satisfaction
compared to those who didn't receive the meditation but were still present in the virtual environment.