CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Virtual reality used to treat PTSD

Virtual reality is being used to treat soldiers returning from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder.

'The immersive system combines realistic street scenes, sounds and odours to allow patients to relive traumatic events in a controlled environment.

'During the "exposure therapy", a clinician determines the intensity of the events the soldier experiences.

'The prototype system is currently being trialled in the US but has already successfully treated four volunteers.'

Kurzweil already predicted that within a short time, virtual reality would become, to many individuals, as compelling as physical reality. We are already seeing this with many making "second life" their priority. Now VR is moving into therapeutic realms.

Oddly, use of technology in this way - like Holosync and other therapies - mirrors use of meditation and guided imagery for healing, the difference being that the auditory and visual and other sensory inputs are external rather than 'merely' 'in the mind.'

Is there a difference? And is the 'mind' simply a machine, or there is a ghost in the machine, the thing we call consciousness?

Maybe the question no longer matters, if it's simply the result - treatment effectiveness - that counts.

Curiously, treatment through virtual reality is the alternative approach, since the traditional approach is medication and psychotherapy:

'Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition suffered by many who have been on active service with the Armed Forces.

The term is used to describe a range of psychological symptoms people may experience following a traumatic, usually life-threatening, event. The system attempts to recreate the reality of war
Symptoms can manifest themselves in different ways but can include reliving the trauma through flashbacks or nightmares, increased irritability and self-isolation.'

The BBC concludes: 'The new technique offers a complementary approach.'

Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a forum for exploration of legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, following Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has also been admitted to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing), adding to Bar membership in four U.S. states.

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Michael H. Cohen, Esq.; 468 North Camden Dr. | Beverly Hills, California 90210 | 310-844-3173