When we think of virtual reality, we usually think about its most obvious uses: gaming, socializing, or even shopping.
But researchers and doctors are also experimenting with VR in the healthcare field. Harvard MedTech has found that VR has unique properties that help the brain address pain and return to homeostasis in a holistic way.
In the Vx Therapy program, clinicians work alongside VR to help guide anyone from surgical patients to hospice patients and veterans toward relief from their pain.
Using a biopsychosocial approach, practitioners there have found that creating acute distractions during a VR therapy session leads to pain relief that lasts hours, the equivalent of a pharmacological option like painkillers. That activity also encourages neuroplasticity and has helped patients achieve long-term relief and even sleep improvement.
“We're tapping into the human brain in a way that we've never really been able to do before,” says Gerry Stanley, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Harvard MedTech. “We always treated it with drugs, we would treat it with injections, we would do different things, but now we're leaning into the brain's natural ability to find homeostasis and heal itself.”
In this episode of Back Talk Doc, host Dr. Sanjiv Lakhia sat down with Dr. Stanley to discuss Harvard MedTech’s Vx Therapy program, why VR therapy works, and how it can revolutionize medicine as we know it.
💡 Featured Expert 💡
Name: Dr. Gerry Stanley
What he does: As Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Harvard MedTech, Dr. Stanely leads the company’s tech and VR solutions to help combat the opioid epidemic and mental health crisis in the United States. He is also a consultant and business leader providing guidance to healthy systems on healthcare solutions.
Company: Harvard MedTech
Words of wisdom: “If we treat people holistically, we give them a tool to engage them biopsychosocially — look at the savings on the backend for the carriers. Look at the happiness of the patients […] That’s the holy grail.”
Connect: Website | LinkedIn
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