Wavelength VR is producing a library of evidence based content for children, which will be available to download as mobile apps, to help manage pain on a daily basis.
Exploring a virtual world distracts the brain from focusing on pain (emotional and physical).
Working with Prof. Bob Stone, Wavelength VR aims to create an experience called 'BEYOND' - a magical garden environment that enhances the inherent fascination of nature and helps heal the body and mind.
Unlike prescribed drugs the tools for relief and recovery are now in the hands of the patient. Virtual reality has already proven to be an effective adjunct or alternative to opioid (morphine-based) pain medications - even in cases of high levels of pain such as burn pain and wound care.
Research conducted since the 1970s suggests that exposing individuals to natural environments, such as gardens and parks can promote stress reduction, enhance mental recovery following tasks requiring high levels of attention, even reduce post-operative recovery times and the need for pharmaceutical pain relief. These “restorative environments” are now recognised as powerful tools in the treatment of a range of conditions and a number of initiatives are being launched to encourage engagement with the natural environment to promote both physical and psychological wellbeing.
Unique to the HIT Team at Birmingham University is their own line of research into Virtual Restorative Environments. They are addressing how to exploit virtual re-creations of areas of natural beauty to help patients recover from traumatic incidents (including operations), and improve the well-being of other patients, from settings as diverse as Intensive Care Units to elderly care homes.
To alleviate distress, and to regain hope, children need to regain some agency and control over their own state. With the use of a bio-feedback device users will be capable of influencing the outcome of the experience which significantly reduces anxiety and increases the strength of the analgesic effects. The interventions of deep breathing, imagery, and binaural sound will be combined to produce a calm physical and mental state.