World Transformation: Forget the pain in VR
 Forget the pain in VR
picture 26 May 2004 @ 14:26, by ming

From Ming the Mechanic: BBC Article talks about how a doctor in a burn center in a hospital in Seattle has had great success using Virtual Reality to help burn victims not feel so much pain.
Hoffman's virtual worlds, which he calls by names such as SnowWorld or SpiderWorld, are designed to immerse the user so deeply in the virtual experience that their attention is distracted away from the pain.

SnowWorld, for instance, takes users on an absorbing virtual journey through glaciers and ice caves whilst having to defend themselves from attack by polar bears and penguins.

Mike Robinson, a patient who has undergone the virtual reality treatment, said it helped him to overcome the extreme discomfort he felt when his dressings were changed.

"My pain when the nurse is changing my bandages is consistently extreme," he told BBC News Online. "But during the time I was in VR, I was pretty much unaware that the nurse was even working on my wound. "I mean, at some level I knew she was working on me, but I wasn't thinking about it because I was inside that SnowWorld."
That's pretty brilliant. And it goes on to touch on brain chemistry and neurology as to why that might be. Well, another way of looking at it could simply be that you aren't feeling pain if you aren't "in your body". So, if you aren't a fakir who can have an out-of-body experience at will, putting most of your attention into exploring a VR game is obviously a very practical idea. And there's this great quote from the doctor.
"Pain requires conscious attention. Humans have a limited amount of this and it's hard to do two things at once,"
Yeah, particularly if you're a man.

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