At Garnet Health Medical Center, our doctors and staff evaluate and test new ways to help our patients relieve pain, to reduce anxiety and stress, as well as connect with our patients in ways that resonate with them and create a lasting impact.
When Erin Martucci declined an epidural during labor, her doctors offered her a virtual reality (VR) headset. Slipping it on, she was mentally transported to a relaxing beach vista, where she could hear crashing waves and chirping birds, all while lying in her hospital bed in New York. A soothing voice coached her to focus on crashing waterfalls and seagulls flying circles overhead, as well as her breathing. The virtual experience helped her block a lot of pain during the two hours before she was ready to push.
Martucci is not the only patient who has used VR to escape pain. These immersive, multisensory environments that nudge our brains into thinking we are somewhere else are emerging as powerful alternatives to opioids for everything from burn injuries to stroke.