The Swedish pharmacy chain ‘Apotek Hjärtat’ has launched a VR app for pain relief. ‘Happy Place’ distracts the brain from focusing on temporary pain through a virtual world. The app is available for free download in Oculus Store and available to try in selected Apotek Hjärtat pharmacies.
Years of research and several independent studies show that virtual distraction can shift the brain’s focus from physical discomfort. The VR app ‘Happy Place’ by the Swedish pharmacy chain Apotek Hjärtat, is designed to distract the individual from their pain by letting them interact with different elements in the app just by looking at them. Happy Place is designed to help those who are in need of temporary pain relief and is intended to be a supplement – rather than a substitute – to pharmaceutical treatments. Vaccinations, tattoos, menstrual or muscle aches are just a few examples where Happy Place can be applied.
Apotek Hjärtat want to be at the forefront when it comes to offering products and services that can help people feel better. Combining pain relief and VR-technology in an app and making it available to the public feels very exciting. As far as I know we are the first pharmacy in the world to try this. We hope Happy Place can help those with temporary, acute pains, says Annika Svedberg, Head Pharmacist at Apotek Hjärtat.
In the virtual world the user can interact with the environment and experience everything from soothing rain to shooting stars. Happy Place is developed in collaboration with the VR developer Mimerse, who recently developed VR treatments with researchers from Stockholm University.
The experience is designed to provide just the right amount of distraction for all users. Happy Place puts you in a peaceful environment where there is a lot to see and explore, but the users are encouraged to take their time and enjoy the surroundings. With Happy Place we have worked on maximizing the comfort at the same time as eliminating the overwhelming and sometimes unpleasant feelings that VR apps often induce, says William Hamilton, VR developer and CEO at Mimerse.
Happy Place is available to anyone with access to a Samsung Gear VR and a smartphone that can download VR-applications from Oculus Store. It is also available on other devices, such as Google Cardboard as it will be published on YouTube as a 360°-film. The VR-experience will be available in selected Apotek Hjärtat pharmacies in Sweden, where the app can be tested by the public (for example when getting vaccinated).
Source: Little Black Book