Our researchers develop innovative technologies combining immersive virtual reality with biotechnologies and meditation. We teach users how to control their mind/body states, so they can use this ability any time, anywhere. Software that reinforces and tracks this learning is under development for mobile technology. Studies on over 500 users demonstrate that virtual reality is more effective than opiates.
VR as Therapy and Training:
Immersive VR has proven to be effective for treating acute pain (Hoffman & Patterson, 2005; Hoffman, et al 2004a, 2004b). We extend this research into the long term arena of chronic pain by investigating what makes VR an effective, non-pharmacological analgesic and by training patients to modulate their perceived pain (Kabat-Zinn, 2006) by developing integrated VR and biofeedback technology (Shaw, et al., 2007). Next, we will examine to what degree users can learn to lower their pain thresholds in VR (by DNIC measures, Loeser, 2001), how much of that ability can persist over time, and if it can be reinforced through desktop and mobile technologies.
Hoffman, H.G., Richards, T., Coda, B. (2004a). et al. Modulation of Thermal Pain-related Brain Activity with Virtual Reality: Evidence from fMRI. Neuroreport, vol. 15, no. 8, Jun 2004, 1245-1248.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2006). Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness, New York: Hyperion.
Loeser, J., Butler, S., Chapman, C., et al. (2001). Evaluation and Function in Disability. Bonica’s Management of Pain, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 351.
Shaw, C.S., Gromala, D., Seay, A.F., et al. (2007). The Meditation Chamber: Enacting Autonomic Senses. Proceedings of ENACTIVE/07, 4th International Conference on Enactive Interfaces, Grenoble, France, 19-22 Nov., 405-408.