Th researchers are not sure how VR actually reduces pain, but thnk that it could be due to immersive distraction. According to Spiegel:
“When the mind is deeply engaged in an immersive experience, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to perceive stimuli outside of the field of attention. By ‘hijacking’ the auditory, visual, and proprioception senses, VR is thought to create an immersive distraction that restricts the mind from processing pain.”
Potential side effects of VR include dizziness, vomiting, nausea or epileptic seizures, therefore patients must be carefully screened and monitored.
Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech Boston – Featuring Ed Boyden, Roz Picard, Tom Insel, John Rogers, Jamshid Ghajar and Nathan Intrator – September 19, 2017 at the MIT Media Lab