There’s recently been an exponential growth in what one can do in the metaverse, from advanced virtual shopping and next-level gaming, to attending live events, exploring exotic virtual reality worlds, and so much more. We can add effective healthcare to that list of ever-emerging VR experiences, with real-world data showing that treatment in a virtual setting can improve the psychological well-being of patients with ovarian and breast cancer. The findings come from a clinical trial that was conducted by the XRHealth platform, operators of metaverse treatment rooms, and researchers from Columbia University and New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

In the trial, 42 women who suffer from cancer-related hot flashes used the VR treatment “Bubble” for 24 consecutive days. Based on principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness stress reduction, Bubble is a VR psychological treatment that takes users to a winter wonderland aptly named Frosty. There, users meet Luna, a virtual guide who gently asks questions about the needs of the patients, about what they would like to do there, and areas of Frosty they wish to explore. The study’s participants were instructed to enter Frosty twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, and also when they had hot flashes.

Before and after the study, participants assessed their reactions to hot flashes according to their perceived stress, illness perception, sleep quality, quality of life, and general psychiatric distress. The results? 70% of the participants said that the VR treatment helped them to return to their regular routines faster than without the treatment. Levels of psychological distress fell, with an overall wellness score of 58.6% before the treatment and 78.4% after. The user experience numbers are remarkable: 97% of participants said that they enjoyed the VR experience, 94% said they liked getting the VR treatment at home, and 84% of them said they wanted to use the technology every day.

The VR treatment meets a considerable need; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ovarian cancer is the second-most prevalent gynecological cancer in America, and breast cancer is the second most common overall cancer among women in the United States. XRHealth CEO Eran Orr says, “We are demonstrating the effectiveness of XR virtual therapy on patients with a myriad of conditions including breast and ovarian cancer…. The combination of virtual reality and artificial intelligence technology is making a profound impact on healthcare treatments by working with the mind to alleviate bodily symptoms.”