A pair of Frisian entrepreneurs have developed a new method for using virtual reality to offer relief to patients living with chronic pain.
Translation by Hans de Preter
More than two million people live with chronic and often debilitating pain in the Netherlands – the condition is more common than cardiovascular disease and diabetes combined.
Louis Zantema (31), a graduate of the University of Groningen, and Margryt Fennema (25), an NHL Stenden alumnus, met at UMCG in 2017 and quickly came up with the idea for Reducept (previously known as RelieVR), a virtual reality game that teaches patients skills for coping with pain and improving their quality of life.
Zantema, a health psychologist, compares pain with a fire alarm: “It goes off to warn people, but that doesn’t mean there is a fire. That’s how it works in your body sometimes: people with chronic pain often have an alarm system that is overly sensitive and occasionally go off without cause.”
Instead of receiving an overwhelming stream of information about how to cope with their pain, patents can play a VR game that takes them on a journey through the body to learn about what pain is and equips them with coping strategies.
The two entrepreneurs are planning to continue testing out the prototype at health facilities throughout 2019 and are hoping to oversee a wider rollout later this summer.
You can read the full profile on ReilieVR (in Dutch) at NorthernKnowledge, a collaborative platform of the University of Groningen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and University Medical Centre Groningen.