Photo Credit — Happy Place
Sweden’s popular pharmacy chain Apotek Hjärtat, has launched a virtual reality experience to distract patients from acute pain. Set in a virtual world, the experience aims to inspire positive emotions like ease and calmness through VR headsets.
Apotek Hjärtat’s VR experience simulates a campground with guided relaxation and the option of listening to soothing music. Users can interact with nature and experience the changes from sun to rain and day to night.
“To my knowledge we are the first pharmacy in the world to try this. We hope it will help those with simple temporary pains.” says Annika Svedberg, Apotek Hjärtat’s chief pharmacist in a company statement.
Apotek Hjärtat partnered with Swedish VR startup Mimerse to build the experience.
“Happy Place puts you in a peaceful environment where there is a lot to see and explore.” Mimerse CEO William Hamilton said in a statement. “With Happy Place we worked on maximizing the comfort and eliminating the unpleasant feelings that VR apps often induce.”
Mimerse is known for their previous work ITSY — a gamified exposure therapy in virtual reality to help people overcome spider phobia.
“Apps like Itsy and Happy Place are only the beginning, the first trembling experiments in a format that we think will disrupt psychological treatments once immersive and augmented reality platforms really hit mainstream.” William Hamilton wrote in a blog post, explaining the design and production stages.
Apotek Hjärtat’s Happy Place VR experience can be downloaded from the Oculus Store for free. It is also available at selected Apotek Hjärtat stores in Sweden.