Healthy Mind is a start up founded by three engineering graduates with an innovative approach towards healthcare. Their virtual reality program is being used in France to relax patients. With this innovative technology, patients are able to increase their tolerance for pain without pain meds.
“What we offer is a contemplative world where the patient goes on a guided tour, in interactive mode, to play music, do a bit of painting or work out a riddle,” said Reda Khouadra, one of the 24-year-olds behind the project.
Reda Khouadra, Co-founder and CEO of healthy minds, started getting passionate about 3D modeling and animation from the age of 12. In an attempt to relive the pain of his aunt—who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease—he used to print on paper soothing landscapes. Years later, the concept of virtual reality gave him the idea of Healthy Mind.
By wearing chunky VR goggles, patients enter the three-dimensional world of Japanese Zen gardens of snowy hillsides. As their mind is occupied in the 3D world, they become more tolerant towards painful procedures like having a cut stitched, a urinary catheter inserted, or a burn being treated or a dislocated shoulder pushed back in place.
“The virtual reality project enables us to offer patients a technique to distract their attention and curb their pain and anxiety when being treated in the emergency room,” said Olivier Ganansia, head of the emergency department at the Saint-Joseph Hospital in Paris.
“I think in 10 years, virtual reality won’t even be a question any more, and will be used in hospitals routinely.”
Their software was first tested at the Pasteur Lanroze clinic to help reduce pain and anxiety in surgery units, palliative care, and the oncology department, where the results and were positive. There is still an ongoing progress in scientific publications that would help ease pain and anxiety during painful procedures.
Healthy Mind may not be the world’s first startup in this field, but it has landed $20,000 prize from a university in Adelaide, Australia. This prize allows the found founders to submit their project at Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle, U.S.