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Virtual Reality Therapy for Fear of Flying

Is your fear of flying preventing you from that vacation you’ve been dreaming of, or have you been unable to move up in your job because you refuse to travel on an airplane?  Virtual Reality Therapy may be the solution you’ve been looking for!

Amazingly up to 20% of Americans suffer from aerophobia, or the fear of flying. Some symptoms may include a racing heart, increased sweating, shaking, flushed skin, feeling disoriented, and an inability to concentrate. You may even have had an anxiety or panic attack when you were just thinking about flying. In fact, some individuals refuse to go to the airport to pick up friends or loved ones because of this phobia.

Whether you are a first-time flyer who is considering taking a trip, or you’ve tried to fly in the past and been unable to before due to your flying phobia, many individuals are finding help in the form of a virtual world.

Virtual Reality therapy exposes you to flying scenarios in the safety and comfort of the therapist’s office. Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, President of the Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC) in La Jolla, California has been practicing Virtual Reality (VR) therapy for over 2 decades. She completed the first randomized controlled clinical trial in 1996 using Virtual Reality and biofeedback to treat patients with a fear of flying.  And the VRMC has been successfully performing VR therapy now for 24 years!   With a new set of skills on how to react differently and think differently about flying, followed by gradual exposure through VR, you can be taking flight in no time!  Most individuals with a specific phobia require on average one clinical intake session and 10 treatment sessions.  If you live in the San Diego area, you can choose to come once a week or twice a week.  If you are coming from out of the area, we can accommodate “condensed treatment” where you will experience one VR session per day, each day, Monday-Friday.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Acrophobia

If you are afraid of heights, you are certainly not alone. In fact, acrophobia, or the fear of heights, is one of the most common phobias, with one-third of the population suffering from this anxiety disorder. And while some experts claim that it is a learned response while others believe it is hereditary, none of that matters if you are the one suffering from this debilitating phobia. Those who have acrophobia may experience nausea, dizziness, vertigo (a spinning or moving sensation), rapid heartbeat, sweating, shortness of breath, and extreme fear when faced with situations involving heights.

You may go to extreme lengths to avoid heights and this is sometimes not feasible. For example, what if your work is on the 25th floor and has huge floor-length windows? Does that mean you cannot work there? Not according to Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, President of the Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC) in La Jolla, California. VRMC has been providing Virtual Reality therapy for over 2 decades and has had great success in treating many types of phobias and fears. By gradually introducing you to situations such as a glass elevator, bridges, and high buildings through virtual reality, you can be desensitized on your own terms and in your own time.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Claustrophobia

Approximately 5% of Americans have the fear of small spaces, or claustrophobia. This fear is actually a specific phobia according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5).

Those who suffer from this disorder are afraid of being closed in or have a fear of not being able to get away that can cause a panic attack when getting on an elevator or an airplane. When you feel like you cannot get away if needed, have an excessive fear of being locked in, or go out of your way to avoid being in a small room or any confined space, these are some of the signs of claustrophobia.

However, this specific phobia is treatable and within a few short weeks, you can be free of the fear of small enclosed spaces. With Virtual Reality therapy, you will be gradually exposed to small spaces such as rooms without windows, hallways, tunnels, elevators, and even closets in small increments, at your own individualized pace. So the next time you’re set to visit your friend who lives on the 27th floor, maybe you will be able to take that elevator!

Virtual Reality Therapy for Arachnophobia

If you are afraid of spiders, then you are not alone. In fact, approximately 55% of women and 18% of men in the United States suffer from arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders. Although not everyone who does not like spiders has the actual phobia, there are some symptoms to watch out for. If you freeze or run away if you see a spider, refuse to go into a room that may have a spider, and if you will not go camping, hiking, or do any other outdoor activities for fear of seeing a spider, you may have arachnophobia.

According to licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, President of the Virtual Reality Medical Center in La Jolla, California, “A phobia is a diagnosable disorder that impacts your life negatively.” But don’t worry, there are treatments that can help. Virtual Reality (VR) exposure therapyhelps the sufferer desensitize to the stimuli that causes their phobia. For example, those who have arachnophobia may be exposed to VR scenarios of spiders in a non-threatening way to gradually decrease the fear at the patient’s own individual pace.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Glossophobia

Although it seems like all of our present day business interactions can be done online, sometimes we may still find we need to give a presentation. The fear of public speaking, speech anxiety, or glossophobia, is the third most common anxiety disorder in the United States and affects more than 20 million Americans at some point. That is about 25% of the population. Whether you are a businessperson or student, homemaker or doctor, a warehouse worker or an attorney, one day you will likely need to speak in front of a large group of people.

Being a confident public speaker can help you advance your career, enhance your relationships with others, or help you to achieve a better grade in school. However, if you feel extreme fear at the thought of talking to a group or get dizzy and nauseous when you have to go on stage, you may have glossophobia and need treatment. Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, a licensed clinical psychologist and President of the Virtual Reality Medical Center in La Jolla, California, has been treating glossophobia and other specific phobias and anxiety disorders successfully with Virtual Reality therapy for over 2 decades. By exposing you to various public speaking scenarios in the virtual world, at your own individual pace, you can become less fearful and more self-confident in previously anxiety-provoking situations.

New Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Study Shows Oska Pulse Significantly Reduces Pain

CARLSBAD, Calif., Feb. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Oska Wellness, a technology company committed to developing consumer health and wellness products, has released the results of a randomized double-blind placebo study showing significant results in pain reduction by using Oska Pulse.

The clinical trial was completed at the Virtual Reality Medical Center, Scripps Memorial Hospital, in La Jolla, Californiaand conducted by a respected team of doctors: Dr. Joseph Shurman, Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, Dr. Roger Kasendorf, Dr. John Qian, and Dr. Mark D. Wiederhold.  The detailed findings have been published here, the Practical Pain Management Journal website, which offers current, useful, and practical information for patients living with chronic pain, and for the medical professionals who treat them.

“We were very encouraged with this trial and it has provided valuable information on how PEMF therapy can treat chronic pain,” said Dr. Brenda Wiederhold. “With the opioid epidemic, it is really timely to find other non-narcotic pain relief solutions for patients.”

“I am very excited as the study confirms that using the Oska Pulse is a true pain relief device regardless of the user(s) background.” Greg Houlgate, President and CEO of Oska Wellness. “Oska Pulse is providing relief for many early users of the product by helping to reduce back, shoulder, knee, ankle, and foot pain, as well as chronic pain issues. The feedback from this double-blind study confirms that Oska Pulse can really help people dealing with pain.”

Top 10 Developments as We Move into Third Decade of Virtual Reality…


The growing role of VR in healthcare.

How has VR developed and what potential does it have for future healthcare?

In the 1990s, there were no resources dedicated to virtual reality (VR) and behavioural healthcare – no journals, no clinics, no conferences, no training programmes and only few advanced technologies. Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a new exciting and challenging era of technology-enhanced behavioural healthcare…