Virtual reality is only in its infancy and it is in the world of sport that it is shown first. A study has established that virtual reality can reduce the pain experienced during physical exertion, thus increasing the duration and effectiveness of exercises.
A sports experiment in virtual worlds
Researchers at the University of Kent in England have looked at the therapeutic potentials of virtual reality. The study consisted of having physical exercises in virtual reality for some and in physical reality for others.
The study was conducted on 80 people. Several parameters were measured:
• Heart rate
• The delay in the onset of a feeling of exhaustion
• The intensity of the pain felt and the effort assessed by each participant
The equipment used was made up of Samsung Galaxy Gear helmets and the test was a test that inflicted “continuous pain” on the participants. They had to hold a dumbbell while staying stationary for as long as possible. 80 people participated in the study and were placed in two groups in a random manner. All participants were asked to maintain an isometric contraction of the biceps by 20% and to postpone the intensity of the pain and the level of perception of the effort. Participants who performed the task in virtual reality held an average of 5.34 minutes, more than one minute more than the second group of participants, which held an average of 4.14 minutes. In addition, virtual reality participants reported an average level of pain intensity lower than that of the second group of 10%.
Encouraging results: Virtual reality could be a very effective source of motivation that would encourage the most reluctant to practice a sporting activity.
Virtual reality can also be used to:
• Reduce post-traumatic stress in soldiers
• Decrease the pain experienced in benign operations in adults
• Reduce paranoia and anxiety during therapy for behavioral disorders