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Virtual Reality Based Passive and Active Distraction Methods for the Treatment of Chronic Pain

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posted on 28.02.2021, 20:36 by Wang, Jiaheng

Chronic pain is ongoing pain lasting for long periods after the initial injury or disease has healed. Chronic pain is difficult to treat and can affect the daily lives of patients. Distraction therapy is a proven way of relieving pain for patients by taking their attention away from the pain. Virtual reality is a platform for distraction therapy by immersing the user visually, aurally, and even somewhat physically in a virtual world detached from reality. There is little research done regarding the effects virtual reality's physical interactions have on pain management. This project aims to evaluate different types of virtual reality interactions for chronic pain patients to determine which is most effective for pain relief. The results found that physical and mental activities in virtual reality are equally effective as each other at reducing pain while the patients are engaged in the content, while the effects of observing relaxing content persists outside of virtual reality. These results inform the design of future virtual reality games targeted at pain management.


Advisor 1

Anslow, Craig

Advisor 2

Robinson, Brian

Advisor 3

McCallum, Simon

Copyright Date


Date of Award



Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Computer Science

Degree Grantor

Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Engineering and Computer Science