Virtual Reality: The New Physical Therapist

Jan 22, 2022
5 min read

Introduction

According to Mordor Intelligence, the Virtual Reality industry valued at around $17.25 billion in 2020. Experts estimate that it will be worth about $184.66 billion by 2026, indicating a CAGR of 48.7%. The days of bulky, cumbersome virtual reality headsets are long gone. Today’s VR apparatus is sleeker and easier to use. Virtual reality prospects are now larger and more interesting than they've ever been.

Have you ever used VR headsets to watch movies or play games?

I’m sure we all have used it at least once in our lives. But, it is no longer just a sci-fi concept used for gaming. It has a broader variety of applications in today’s modern world. VR has impacted nearly every aspect of human life, from education to architecture. However, healthcare is one area where it has shown to be of great importance.

In this article, we are going to see how VR has played an important role in healthcare and has become our new physical therapist. Apart from this, we will be covering some topics like applications of VR in healthcare and how it has helped many people cure their physical disabilities.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated virtual world in which a person may interact with an artificial three-dimensional world via the use of electronic equipment such as special eyewear with a screen or sensors-equipped gloves. While monitors and TV display only allow for a restricted 3D experience, virtual reality may provide a 360-degree immersive experience in which computer-generated visuals aid in the creation of things that are as near to reality as possible.

VR glasses use a technology called Head-tracking. A wide range of views is provided when the head movements. However, if the head moves too quickly, latencies may occur. To generate a 3D perspective, the video or picture displayed on the VR displays is split in half, with an independent view for each eye. Lenses will be used between the screen and your eyes on all VR displays. This aids in distorting the image on the screen into something more lifelike for our eyes.

The Importance of Virtual Reality in Healthcare

VR technology can be of great benefit to both the patients and the practitioners in the healthcare industry. Virtual reality has the ability to provide individualized therapy that isn't reliant on a clinician's own expertise or intuition alone. Modern medicine relies heavily on this type of human-computer interaction (HCI).

VR for Practitioners-
Healthcare workers will utilize virtual reality medical equipment to better serve their patients and assist doctors in a more personalized manner. Clinicians will be able to provide more efficient treatment due to the simplicity of use and high processing capability. This will save money for the healthcare business, enhance patient care, and increase profits.

VR for Patients-
Virtual reality has the potential to improve health care dramatically. Unlike movies or other non-interactive 2D media, VR may replicate and communicate a sensation of presence for a patient in a relaxing, "video-game-like" environment. In fact, a person may walk into an unrealized world and feel as though they are literally there.

Applications of VR in Healthcare

VR offers a wide range of applications in health and healthcare, from clinical to consumer, ranging from creating novel life-saving treatments to teaching future physicians. We'll go through how Virtual Reality is being utilized to teach and support healthcare workers, improve lives, and heal patients in the sections below.

Medical Training

Doctors must not just know a variety of techniques that they may only utilize sometimes, but they must also be able to do them correctly and swiftly when the need comes. Medical students can practice these operations in a completely realistic situational experience using virtual reality. Students can employ medical virtual reality training for more common operations in addition to more complex medical procedures.

Disease Analysis

VR technologies are greatly used for the analysis of any disease. VETERAN-virtual environments in the diagnosis, prevention, and intervention of age-related illnesses is a multidisciplinary project led by a consortium of virtual reality and healthcare researchers from across the world. The VETERAN project's major objective is to fine-tune and test various virtual environments in order to address the cognitive and functional deficits that veterans face.

Medical Treatment

Robotic surgery is a relatively new invention in which a human surgeon controls robotic equipment, such as a robotic arm, to perform surgery. As a result, there are fewer chances of problems during surgery and the process is completed faster. The robotic equipment is precise, resulting in smaller incisions, less blood loss, and a quicker recovery time.

Physical Therapy through VR

VR is now been used for treating the physical ailments of people. Physical therapy through VR helps in curing a wide variety of physical health issues. Let’s take them one by one.

Neurological Conditions

Arm deficits in people with neurological disorders can make reaching difficult, while lower extremity impairments can make balance and walk problematic. During physical treatment, virtual reality might be a fun and effective approach to enhance upper and lower limb coordination and balance.

Vestibular Rehab

Your vestibular system synchronizes your eye movements with your head motions and positions. Vertigo and difficulties keeping an upright position might be caused by a vestibular system dysfunction. Gaze stability exercises are frequently used to assist your body in relearning the appropriate head and eye motions required to maintain upright positions.

Pediatric Conditions

Physical therapy is difficult labor, but it is typically done via play for children. Finding new ways to include play activities in rehab might be crucial to achieving correct functional mobility. Using virtual reality technology to keep a youngster interested in therapy while improving mobility deficits might be the answer.

Orthopedic Conditions

Virtual reality may be beneficial during therapy for any orthopedic condition that causes an impairment that restricts functional movement. If you're suffering from shoulder discomfort and finding it tough to perform daily activities, you could benefit from a virtual reality-based physical therapy session. Video may be presented while wearing the VR headset that needs you to reach overhead in various directions.

How VR helped many cure their physical disabilities

To date, VR has helped a good number of people get rid of their disabilities. One such case is of Michael Heinrich, who lost the movement of his lower body while riding a motorcycle when a rotten tree fell on him. His life completely changed when his doctor thought of using VR therapy for his treatment. His lower body got fully functional again and he was able to do things we more ease.

Conclusion

In the last five years, virtual reality has been an inventive and developing technology. Technology is beginning to be used in a variety of products, services, and games. Companies are catching on to the rapidly expanding trend of virtual reality, and it is becoming more of a real-life reality every day.

Virtual reality has the highest emotional engagement of any type of material. Furthermore, it is transforming content marketing as we know it.

Instead of blog articles, virtual experiences with high degrees of engagement and involvement will become more common. Virtual reality appears to be here to stay, and it will continue to play an important role in marketing for years to come.