New Study: VR Changes Mood Before Blood Donations

Sarah Hill
Sep 20, 2019 · 3 min read

American Red Cross participants watched a 4-minute virtual reality experience

Image for post
Image for post
A user watches a Healium virtual reality story about a magical tree

The Scholarly Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Science published a study this week investigating shifts in mood states using virtual reality before blood donations at the American Red Cross. The study involved 33 volunteers measuring states including tension, anger, fatigue, happiness and calmness.

Image for post
Image for post

Needle injections are part of many medical procedures, yet “needle fear” and “needle phobia” frequently result in avoiding necessary treatments and an unwillingness to donate blood. Studies examining fear of needles have reported prevalence estimates as high as 91%. Because this anxiety has real-life consequences, a recent review of research on needle fear recommended that “greater attention should be given to evidence-based approaches to alleviate fear during injections”.

“This study demonstrated that an inexpensive and brief VR intervention can have a significant positive impact on mood just prior to a needle stick, reducing tension and fatigue and increasing feelings of calmness and happiness in an adult population. This is consistent with other research showing that VR reduces pain and anxiety better than “treatment as usual” in a pediatric population during a routine blood draw [Gold| Maher 2017]. The apparent success of VR in reducing anxiety may be, in part, due to the strong feeling of “presence” achieved in these environments [Waterworth |Waterworth | Mantovani 2011 and 2014]. “Presence,” is defined as the subjective feeling of being in another place. As there are multiple visual and auditory cues in a traditional hospital or blood donation setting that could trigger or exacerbate an anxiety response, removal of these cues may be helpful in reducing anxiety. In addition, rather than simply removing a potentially stressful environment, VR can replace these stressful cues with an environment designed to be soothing, comforting, and mood enhancing.”

- Dr. Jeff Tarrant, Director of the Neuromeditation Institute and Chief Science Officer for Healium. The study was published in the Scholarly Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

Image for post
Image for post
The Big Tree

Participants watched a four-minute Healium experience where an old, barren tree transformed from lifeless to full of color and blooms. You can read the full study here: https://lupinepublishers.com/psychology-behavioral-science-journal/pdf/SJPBS.MS.ID.000150.pdf

Image for post
Image for post

StoryUP makers of Healium

We create biometrically controlled VR and AR experiences…

Sarah Hill

Written by

CEO & Chief Storyteller, Healium, a drugless virtual escape powered by your biometrics in virtual, augmented or mixed reality. https://www.tryhealium.com/

StoryUP makers of Healium

We create biometrically controlled VR and AR experiences you can move with your mind and heart.

Sarah Hill

Written by

CEO & Chief Storyteller, Healium, a drugless virtual escape powered by your biometrics in virtual, augmented or mixed reality. https://www.tryhealium.com/

StoryUP makers of Healium

We create biometrically controlled VR and AR experiences you can move with your mind and heart.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store