How can virtual reality help physiotherapy?

NewsMedical spoke with InMotion VR’s Kiki Coppelmans about its Corpus virtual reality platform which offers innovative rehabilitation therapy solutions.

Can you introduce yourself and your professional background?

My name is Kiki Coppelmans and I am a psychosomatic physiotherapist. This means that I treat people with complex issues, such as burnout, depression, chronic pain or those recovering from stroke or surgery. They don’t go through the normal recovery process because they need a little extra help.

What inspired you to pursue a virtual reality therapy platform?

In 2014 I had my first virtual reality experience thanks to my husband Gert-Jan Brok. He is a game developer and interaction designer. He is fascinated by human beings, human interaction with computers and how to combine and optimize the capabilities of both. One day he brought home a VR headset that you plug into your PC. For me, it was an epiphany, as I was suddenly completely thrown into this environment. I was relaxed. I wanted to move. And I thought, “Oh my God, if only I could use this with my patients.” I said it out loud, and then my husband said, “Let’s do it.

From there, we planned how we could use this technology in treatment. We started by building an environment for whiplash treatment (WADI&II). This is a very difficult group of patients to treat because they are very afraid of movement and have a high intensity of pain. Therefore, they need a different approach.

We built Corpus VR, in which we can visualize the patient’s range of motion and the therapist can modify it. The patient is not fully aware of this because they are in a play environment. This means we can evoke more movement while offering them feedback and encouragement so they can do more. It turns out to be really motivating and gives them self-esteem and confidence that they can do more than they think. Often they lose the sense that they can cope and everything will be fine and the body will still work. We give them that hope.

What virtual reality games and solutions does Corpus VR offer patients?

Corpus VR is developed always considering physiotherapy methods, so it is very easy for therapists to understand how this technology works. The Corpus VR software is developed to collect the personal movements of the patient, then with the headset on the patient, it is placed in a gaming environment where we use this data to personalize the treatment.

As a therapist, you can retrain motor skills in your patients’ brains and train different treatment variables. The part you want to train can be targeted with games developed for specific purposes.

For example, to evaluate a rotation-based exercise, we built a city-like game where patients can retrain neck movement by watching a car cross the street or train proprioception and muscle coordination by letting the patient complete a gaze maze, a maze that you solve by moving your head, in VR.

What are the problems of traditional physiotherapy that virtual reality can overcome?

The main problem is to solve both the body and the mind part. If you only deal with complaints at the physical level, you will not always solve the problem with your patient. When in a lot of pain, some people experience negative thoughts and stress that create a feedback loop between pain, dizziness and fatigue. We encourage patients to adopt a positive mindset.

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More importantly, when you go to a physical therapist, most of the time you are assigned exercises that you must do at home. Without VR and without Corpus VR, you focus on the pain and how you feel during these exercises. While an external focus can also be offered, it shifts more attention to the fact that you are just playing a game, even if the game evokes the exercises. As a result, you have fun doing your exercises because you see that you are progressing.

The crucial thing is that you can connect with your therapist and therapy from home. This allows the therapist to see that you are doing the exercises, but it can also make things easier or more difficult. Therefore, you feel supported even from a distance because it is always at your level and what you need.

The vision behind the technology is that if me as a therapist and you as a patient can be more engaged in your own recovery, then we are a golden team. This helps recovery move forward faster.

Would you say there has been a reluctance to adopt new technologies in rehabilitation?

Most therapists are conservative in their approach. They know what they have to do and they are comfortable with it. It is a desire to change. If we expect patients to change their habits to get better faster, we also need to do the same as therapists.

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They have to adjust their workflow, and if they’re using new technology, admittedly, it takes time to adapt. As a rising and innovative company, we must take this into account. If customers are going to use Corpus VR, we need to help them with this implementation process and make sure they get familiar with it properly.

How important are trade shows like MEDICA for exposure and networking as a small business?

We have already visited and exhibited in many trade fairs. We never approached MEDICA at first because we wanted to be more established in the market. We have now been on the market since 2018, and for us it was the right time to go to MEDICA.

What we see here are significant opportunities to talk to resellers from different countries. Although we already have resellers in different countries, it really is a universal tool – every therapist all over the world can use it because the methods it contains are the same practically everywhere.

What are the immediate next steps you will take to develop your virtual reality system?

Our immediate next steps are with the update where we are adding six different new relaxation environments, with the collaboration of our German partner Magic Horizons. Corpus VR is a platform that can not only be used for physical and neurological complaints, but also for behavioral and mental complaints, for example for patients suffering from problems related to stress, burnout and anxiety. This helps us to help even more patients in their daily difficulties.

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Finally, we make Corpus Connect available to our customers. This will be a real time saver as it will solve many customer support questions and update frustration. This means therapists can focus their time on patient care rather than technology or administration.

Many more new features are planned for 2023, so if you want to be on top, subscribe to our newsletter on the Corpus VR website.

About Kiki Coppelmans

1671462209 110 How can virtual reality help physiotherapyI turned to using virtual reality (VR) because I experienced the positive power of VR myself and started developing the Corpus VR therapy solution so that I could help my patients even better. patients. As CSO and co-founder of inMotion VR, I believe that through fun and playful exercises with VR technology, we can get people moving mentally and physically for better well-being!

I always thought of a solution as having a library of tools that I could use on the most complex client cases and how I could engage my patient to take an active role in their own recovery. What if this solution was something we could multiply to help even more therapists and their patients physically and mentally? This is why Corpus VR was born.

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How can virtual reality help physiotherapy?

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