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VR technology is gaining momentum in mental therapy

Lodz researchers offer free VR therapy to refugees from Ukraine

Lodz researchers offer free VR therapy to refugees from Ukraine

This technique is used extensively all over the world in the treatment of trauma

The use of Virtual Reality (VR) goggles as a tool in trauma relief has been expanding worldwide. Now, the benefits of this modern technology will be put to good use in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, potentially helping hundreds of refugees regain control of their mental state. This will happen for free, thanks to researchers in the Polish city of Lodz, as their website informed yesterday.

Putting technology to good use

A team of employees of the Lodz University of Technology under the supervision of Dr. Dorota Kamińska and Dr. Grzegorz Zwoliński has been conducting research on the method of psychological treatment with VR glasses for years. Luckily, they have recently obtained external funding to carry on this activity. However, with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, they decided to use the acquired knowledge and opportunities to help refugees.

In particular, they will offer free therapy sessions lasting for 20 minutes during which the user is taken to the virtual world. The participant is invited to a mountain apartment with a seating area, a fireplace and a window that shows a beautiful panorama with great depth. They are guided by a staff member who provides basic info on how to breathe and focus.

This focusing of thoughts on pleasant and neutral topics, helps the patient move away from extremely difficult experiences, like those caused by war or losing beloved ones.

Researchers will use several relaxation techniques – visualization, breathing, and bilateral stimulation. The latter consists in following a certain point with your eyesight, from left to right, along the edge of the field of view. Reportedly, it works similarly to the REM (rapid-eye-movement) phase of sleep, characterised by intense brain activity, believed to be good for memory and learning.

The sessions are free and take place at the Municipal Activity Factory at ul. Tuwima 10. The soundtrack has been fully translated into Ukrainian, and the presence of an interpreter is ensured throughout the screening. Registration is made in Polish at dorota.kaminska@p.lodz.pl and in Ukrainian at kseniacibenko@gmail.com. The project will run until 20 April 2022.

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