Virtual Reality Helping to Reduce The Perceived Pain in Ailing Children


a1While the major virtual reality headsets only began shipping approximately four weeks ago, the hype by gamers has already begun.  Besides the obvious shipping delays, the general public seems to be incredibly bullish on this technology, as many VR ‘virgins’ walk away thoroughly impresses, and oftentimes speechless with excitement.  With all this said, the excitement and wonder by everyday people like you and I, which has been sparked by VR, pales in comparison to the implications that the technology may have on ailing children.

Thanks to a recent video posted on YouTube by the University of Michigan Health System, we are all able to see just how impactful virtual reality can be to kids at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, a pediatric hospital through the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Thanks to GameStart technical school, also in Ann Arbor, MI, along with Valve, children at the hospital were able to experience virtual reality for the first time.

Many of these children are in a lot of pain, so anything that’s able to take their mind off of this pain and reduce the fear and anxiety that many of them may face from being in the hospital for extended periods of time, can be a blessing for sure. Volunteers at GameStart strapped HTC Vive headsets to a number of children’s faces and allowed them to interact with virtual worlds. Excited, happy, and enthused can all be words to describe their initial reactions, but when one young man was asked to describe his pain level on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being barely any pain and 10 being severe pain, we were really able to understand the impact that these experiences can have. He said that prior to putting on the Vive headset that his pain could be best described as a ‘9’. After finishing his VR session, he said that the pain had subsided to a ‘7’, and during the VR session he described his level of pain as only a ‘6’.

While having a pain level of a ‘6’ on a scale of 1 to 10 certainly isn’t something to cheer about, the fact that he perceived the pain that he was experiencing as dropping significantly from a near-severe level prior to the VR session, shows just how how powerful VR can be in putting individuals into a whole other mindset and away from reality in general.  The full video can and should be viewed below.  Let us now your thoughts on the video in the VR Reduces Children’s Pain forum on