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Technology & development

Virtual Reality Rehabilitation

 

The future of physical therapy.

 

What comes to mind when thinking about traditional physical therapy? It is often boring! It is repetitive by nature, and these repetitions decrease patient motivation experience and engagement over time. In addition, the traditional setting requires at least one therapist to work 1:1 with the patient, which increases the need for resources and thus the cost to the healthcare system. It also does not provide objective data and does not offer a way to monitor the intensity and specificity of the therapy that patients engage in. Researchers are therefore looking for new methods to improve motor rehabilitation and make it more attractive and effective. Virtual reality (VR) has recently emerged as a useful adjunct to conventional therapy by incorporating rehabilitation strategies into a novel yet effective approach. VR-assisted therapy has been shown to provide a positive learning experience and to be engaging and motivating. In a recent online event, three experts shared their experiences of using VR Rehabilitation Technology in combination with THERA-Trainer. Participants gained insight into the possibilities of this new technology in the context of physical rehabilitation.

 

Efficacy of Virtual Reality for Neurological Rehabilitation

 

Veena Somareddy, founder and CEO of Neuro Rehab VR, gave an insight and overview of virtual reality applications in healthcare and a deeper understanding of their use in neurological rehabilitation. She explained how Neuro Rehab VR harnesses the neuroplasticity of the brain through immersive 3D environments with precise control over the stimulus and cognitive load experienced by the user. She went on to discuss how setting functional goals in VR therapy exercises can increase patient engagement, how patient progress reports with quantitative data can help support recovery, the psychological impact virtual reality therapy has on patients. This impressively highlighted the overall efficiency that underlies the use of VR during therapy.

 

360° VR bike rides to help the recovery of semi-critically ill patients during rehabilitation sessions

 

Mariella Pisciotta, Co-founder of Reality Telling showcased, how 360° VR bike rides can help semi-critically ill patients to recover from ICU Aquired Weakness. Reality Telling produces 360˚ video rides selecting iconic Barcelona areas to engage and motivate patients during in-bed cycling training with THERA-Trainer bemo at Hospital del Mar Barcelona. The application of this experiences through VR glasses has shown great results in terms of patients’ motivation, hence better performance, and faster recovery. The Immersive experiences are now part of the humanization program of the Intensive Care in the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona.

 

A growing elderly population – and the problem with viewing them as a diagnosis

 

Steen Petersen, CTO of Syncsende addressed the issue of demographic change. Syncsense is a life-enhancing digital training technology for physical and cognitive VR training of society‘s most debilitated and inactive elderly and people with disabilities. The VR solution transforms training equipment (e.g. for cycling, balance and gait) into sensory stimulating and socially engaging training experiences – and promotes physical, cognitive and social activity. As the population of elderly citizens grows but the number of warm hands to treat them decreases, a squeeze is being felt already now that is only getting worse. This is what Syncsense aims to ameliorate. And VR is one of the ways the company have found to start working on it.

 

For more informations about Virtual Reality Rehabilitation:
https://youtu.be/AG9-vPW1Rh0?feature=shared

 



Jakob Tiebel

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