If you live with endometriosis, you know how all-consuming the pelvic pain can be. But you may be wondering - how can simply putting on a VR headset actually override and decrease those agonising symptoms?
Let's break down the science.
VR works by immersing your senses in interactive virtual worlds that fully capture your attention. This floods your brain with new visual, auditory, and even tactile stimuli from the VR experience.
Your brain has limited capacity to process signals. When your attention is absorbed in VR, fewer brain resources remain to register your endo pain. The VR essentially distracts your brain away from processing pain signals.
VR activates areas of the brain like the visual cortex and areas involved in touch and movement. This stimulation inhibits the areas of the pain network, reducing their activity. More of your brain is working to make sense of the VR.
The more immersive and engaging the VR environment, the greater this "neural overload" effect. Your brain gets completely preoccupied with navigating 3D worlds, solving puzzles, enjoying music, etc. The pain fades into the background.
Research shows just 15-30 minutes of VR can reduce endometriosis pain for hours after using it.
Over time, regular VR may help retrain your pain pathways via neuroplasticity. Your brain gets conditioned to expect pain reduction during VR sessions, amplifying its effects. VR empowers your brain against endo pain.