One of the most interesting ways of treating patients using virtual reality may not meet your typical "therapeutic" ideas. For one, it's actually treating a physical response.
Scientists at the University of Washington have been studying ways for severe burn victims to undergo excruciating grafting operations with less pain. Not only did they find that putting a person in a virtual reality setting resulted in the patient recording their pain as less severe, but they also found that a soothing virtual experience would reduce the anxiety patients felt recalling the pain of their initial burn.
By introducing a program called SnowWorld, they put patients in a virtual reality program where they traipsed through a winter wonderland, hanging out with penguins on icebergs and having virtual snowball fights with friendly snowmen as flakes gently drift.
Oddly enough, SnowWorld was actually developed on a program called SpiderWorld. On the next page, we'll see what happens in SpiderWorld and how it's used as a therapeutic tool.