Skip to Content

Need an IV or Stitches? Virtual Reality or Hypnosis Might Ease Pain

TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2020 -- Virtual reality glasses or hypnosis can relieve pain and anxiety in people having short medical procedures, a new study finds.

For those getting an IV catheter or stitches to close a wound, for example, these distraction techniques reduce the need for painkillers, say researchers in Belgium.

The study is by Dr. E. Kubra Okur Kavak and her colleagues from Brussels University Hospital. The results were presented online at the annual meeting of the European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care.

"From the very start of the intervention, the application of either medical hypnosis or virtual reality glasses significantly reduced pain and anxiety in patients undergoing medical procedures," the researchers said. It was not intended for any kind of surgery.

"More studies are needed but both are promising, safe extra tools to standard pharmacological treatment used during these simple but often painful medical procedures," they said in a meeting news release.

The study involved more than 100 patients ages 6 to over 65. Patients were randomly assigned to standard pain medications, VR glasses or hypnosis before and during the procedure.

Kavak and her team found that VR glasses or hypnosis reduced pain and anxiety to levels where no painkillers were needed. No adverse side effects were seen and patients in the VR group were more likely to be satisfied than the other groups, researchers note.

Patients receiving hypnosis were distracted by continuous talk and positive suggestions to make them feel they were in another place doing something they liked.

The VR glasses provided visual and verbal distraction throughout the procedure. A calming voice and a cartoon movie delivered positive suggestions, similar to hypnosis.

The study findings were released Sunday. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until peer-reviewed for publication in a medical journal.

© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: December 2020

Read this next

'Mindfulness' on Your Mind? It Has Limits, Review Finds

  THURSDAY, Jan. 14, 2021 -- Mindfulness is all the rage when it comes to boosting mental health, but new research suggests that it may not help everyone...

AHA News: The Unity Council Helps Keep Roofs Over Residents' Heads

MONDAY, Jan. 11, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- When Zilpa Naomi Lopez walked into the office of The Unity Council in Oakland, California, she couldn't believe her...

Coping With Anxiety, Fear During a Rocky Presidential Transition

FRIDAY, Jan. 8, 2021 -- The nation is in a state of shock and outrage over Wednesday's riotous siege on the U.S. Capitol Building by supporters of President Donald Trump, and...

More News Resources

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of in your inbox.