Optional Hygienic Add-ons for your Oculus Go Headset:

Wipeable face mask: vrcover.com/product/oculus-go-replacement-set/.

Vinyl wipeable straps: vrcover.com/product/oculus-go-head-strap

Disposable liners: vrcover.com/product/disposable-hygiene-covers-extra/

 

CleanBox is another new technology that uses UVA and UVB light to clean the headsets (cleans 1 headset per min). At last check, these units were $1400: cleanboxtech.com/solutions

 

How do I clean the VR headsets between uses?

 

 

Put on gloves first and then discard the gloves after you’ve finished cleaning the headset. If you don’t have gloves, thoroughly wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after cleaning the headset.

 

Use a hypo-allergenic, alcohol-free antibacterial| anti-viral wipe

 

Gently wipe the face mask and around all of the headset surfaces.

 

Wipe dry and let air dry for two minutes.

 

If you don’t have a wipeable facemask from VR Cover, this is not ideal but you can clean the cloth interface with Virex and then set out to dry.

 

For single users, you can use a can of compressed air to blow dust out of nooks and crannies.

 

You can clean the lenses using a dry, soft, lint-free cloth. Oculus advises to NEVER use a liquid cleaner on the lenses as it could damage the lenses. However in some institutions, using a dry cloth is not ideal so an alcohol-based lens cleaner is recommended.

 

 

CAUTION: Take care as the lens can easily scratch; use a consistent, counter-clockwise motion when cleaning the lenses of the headset. Never store your virtual reality headset in sunlight. Much like a magnifying glass, the sun can fry the lenses.

How to Put on the Sanitary Cover with disposable barrier

 

Replace the disposable sanitary cover after each use of the Oculus Go. Peel off the paper backing behind the cover and stick the disposable barrier on the vinyl face mask that has been cleaned according to the previous protocol.

 

The vinyl face mask is reusable and can be wiped with sani-wipes and set out to dry for two minutes.

 

Virtual Reality Safety & Comfort Recommendations

 

I’m working with aging or chronic pain individuals who require assistance with the VR headset. How do I ensure they’re comfortable during the VR Experience?

A virtual reality experience is not for everyone, so it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure the user has an enjoyable experience. Check with the person’s physician or close family members to ensure there aren’t any limiting medical or mental conditions. If the user has a history of seizure or motion sickness, they’re likely not an ideal candidate for VR.  Ask the user if they even want to see virtual reality, explaining the process as best you can. If they don’t want to do it, don’t pressure them. We explain VR to older individuals like a “High Tech Viewmaster”.  (Some people used Viewmasters during WWII so they may understand that concept).

 

In order to prevent any undesirable experiences, the following guidance should be followed by whomever is assisting the user:

 

NEVER allow the user to stand up while they’re watching a VR experience.

NEVER take your eyes off the individual while they’re watching the experience.

 

1. Clean the facemask with a hypo- allergenic, alcohol-free antibacterial/viral wipe with the protocol above.

2. Once the steps listed above are complete and the video is ready to play, explain to the user what to expect and if they are having any trouble to tell you or give a hand signal so you can help them.

 

CAUTION: Instruct the user to alert you immediately if they feel uncomfortable or dizzy.  Discontinue use (where appropriate) by immediately removing the headset.

NOTE: Instruct the user to use a thumbs up/thumbs down to communicate how they feel.  If given a thumbs down signal, immediately remove the headset.

 

3. Assist the user as they put on the headset.

 

NOTE:  A seated position is ideal if possible, but lying down is acceptable, you will just have to reorient the view outside of the app by holding down the “O” button.

 

4. Let the user adjust their own headset, assisting as required until it is comfortably secured with a clear view.

5. In order to focus, ask the user (or assist if needed) to move the headset around their forehead until it’s in focus. The user is also able to wear glasses if that’s easier but not ideal as it may scratch the lenses.

6. Play the video for the user first then place it on their head.

7. Ask the user if they’re able to hear the audio clearly as soon as the experience begins. Headphones are not required as the sound out of the Oculus Go’s built in speakers is really good and works well with hearing aids. Try using the volume buttons on the top of the headgear.

8. One minute into the film, ask the user if they’re still feeling alright and remind them that they can look all around – Left, Right, Up and Down.

 

CAUTION: If you see a thumbs down or sense any discomfort in the user, discontinue use immediately by removing the headset.

NOTE: Closely monitor the user’s body language during the duration of the experience to ensure they’re comfortable.

 

Why aren’t there any headphones supplied?

We have found that headphones can be problematic due to interference with certain hearing aids. The audio output from the headset is close enough to the ears to be clearly heard or picked up by most hearing aids.  As such, we recommend the use of headphones only in specific cases when they may be necessary. If the user is not able to hear the film with the audio turned all the way up, you might consider using headphones.

 

Can the user wear eyeglasses?

It’s up to you and the user. Eyeglasses have the potential to scratch the lens of the headset or prove to be a barrier for the viewer. That said, if the user doesn’t want to remove their glasses, it’s not a necessity.  Feel free to experiment to optimize the user’s comfort level.  In our experience, the viewer is most comfortable without eyeglasses, so we recommend starting there.

 

What should I prepare for after the headset comes off?

Some users have tears so you might want to have a Kleenex handy. Ask the user how they feel after you take off the headset and remain with them for some time afterward to ensure they’re still feeling comfortable. Do not let them get up and walk immediately after the VR experience without assistance.

 

Questions? Or do you have a recommendation to add to this list? Please email us at hello@tryhealium.com

 

My 17 year old daughter was in a car accident last Thursday morning.
It was the first day this year with Black Ice, and as she proceeded down the onramp of the highway, she slid in and out of two lanes of traffic until a guard rail on the opposite side of the highway finally stopped her vehicle.

The impact of the accident was enough to pop her tire, bend her wheel well & remove the bumper & mirror on her driver’s side.

We found out later that day that it also punctured the radiator & transmission. We watched in shock as the tow truck driver hauled her car to the shop to see if it could be repaired and for some reason, she didn’t want to come home & rest. She was insistent that I take her straight to school as she couldn’t miss any “class time” during her Senior Year or her GPA may drop and she would lose her college scholarships.
Later that day, my mom picked her up from school and took her to work which she was determined to go to because she didn’t want to lose the money. While she was at work, we found out that her car would be totaled as the repair costs far exceeded the value of the car, unfortunately I had only carried liability insurance on her car so she would now have to rely on us to take her to and from places until we can save up for a new car.

She returned home from work, ate dinner & started to do her homework and within 15 minutes she was having a full panic attack.
She came running upstairs to find me complaining that she had something stuck in her throat and that she couldn’t catch her breath.
After a quick assessment, I could tell that she wasn’t choking on anything but that she was having a full-blown panic attack like the ones she had when she was a child. She was literally so worked up from stress that she couldn’t fully swallow or take in a full deep breath.

As I tried to calm her down and debated taking her to the ER, I somehow remembered the Healium app & thought it was worth a try as she was wearing her Apple Watch, so I grabbed her iPhone and downloaded the app. Within 60 seconds she was watching the first exercise of the plant growing & the butterflies starting to hatch.

I sat there in awe watching as she listened to the calm voice on the app, followed all of the instructions and after another minute she was able to keep her heart rate down enough to hatch 3 butterflies.  After another minute she sat down on the bed beside me to show me all of the butterflies that she had hatched.   She could breathe, she could swallow, she was calm, smiling, laughing and we were both at a state of peace for the first time that day.

 

We are truly blessed that she walked away from the accident with not even a scratch, but the anxiety from the impact of the accident, the trauma from the loss of her car and the pressure she had put on herself to keep pushing through her day was way too much for any adult to deal with let alone a child. There is nothing more overwhelming as a mother than watching your child suffer to breathe knowing that you can’t fix it.

 

I will be forever grateful for the gift you gave us that night with your app. It was the best $4.99 that I have ever spent and the whole world needs to know about it.

 

–Beth

For more information about Healium’s augmented and virtual reality apps, please visit https://www.tryhealium.com/

Obviously, hand washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself from illness. But have you considered “washing” your brain? No, I’m not advocating pouring hand sanitizer in your ears. Whether you realize it or not, poor mental health hygiene can make you physically sick. Let me explain: Stress is responsible for up to 60% of all illness and disease, according to the American Medical Association and up to 90% of doctor visits. It’s life’s “dirt” that gets in our brains. And, if we don’t wash it out, it can short circuit our nervous systems. To help you wash your brain, here are five ways to up your mental health hygiene and boost your immunity.

 

You know what stress feels like, the tightening of muscles, restricted breathing, racing heart, and worry. While we naturally feel these things when we experience difficulties in life, we can also experience stress simply by remembering something from the past or imagining what might happen in the future-something that hasn’t even happened yet.

Whether we are reacting to something happening in our world or something imagined in the mind, when you experience stress, your brain changes, it prepares for action.

Let me explain how this happens by examining brainwaves. This explanation comes from Dr. Jeff Tarrant, Founder of the Neuromeditation Institute and Chief Scientist for Healium.

 

“When your brain is stressed, it tends to produce more fast brainwaves, such as Hi Beta. This activates regions of the brain associated with holding attention and coordinating thoughts and feelings. When there is an excessive amount of fast activity, the brain can get stuck in this pattern, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and depleting your resources. In order to keep balance in your nervous system it is important to counterbalance this fast activity. That’s where we can help. Healium is designed to quickly shift out of a stress response, into a more relaxed, calm, and present state of mind. It does this by reducing Hi Beta activity and shifting the brain into a more positive pattern.”

 

Healium_virtural_reality

Virtual nature bathing. Sometimes a real walk in the park isn’t possible because you’re at work, the weather’s bad outside, or it’s in the middle of the night. But that shouldn’t stop you from bathing in nature’s beauty. Research shows that even looking at images of trees and greenery has a therapeutic impact. Healium kits surround you in nature in virtual and augmented reality. I use my Healium kit before I go to bed at night to quickly downshift my nervous system and wash everything that’s happened during the day out of my mind. Through research, Healium has shown to reduce the fast activity in the brain. Healium is an app that works on your mobile phone or on your virtual reality headset.

“This is like the stress olympics,” said Dr. Tarrant talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is what experienced meditators train for.”

 

But what if you’re not an experienced meditator?

Mind your Digital Diet:  You are what you consume in your media, social media, and news headlines. As a news reporter for 20 years, that constant digital diet of negativity made me sick and led to panic attacks. I recovered by replacing my digital diet with more ‘fruits and vegetables’ like inspirational or spiritual media, books, and podcasts. Even listening to reports of a natural or health disaster can raise your stress levels which reduce your immunity. I’m not advocating turning off the news altogether. You need that information to keep you safe and to know who to vote for but if the only thing you’re eating in your digital diet is chock full of negativity….negative fiber will make you sick. 

 

Self talk at the sink. If you don’t have the ability to talk to a therapist, teacher, family member, or friend, talk to someone, even if it’s yourself. Self-talk is a powerful tool to shift the negative narrative playing in your head. I have regular conversations with myself on a daily basis every time I wash my hands. When I lather up, I look at myself in the mirror and say my name, followed by these words, “Sarah, you are beautiful.” Stress is ugly. Not only does it age you prematurely, but it zaps your self-confidence. Shift that negative narrative playing in your head. If no one is pouring beauty into your soul, it’s up to you to be the wind in your own sails. You don’t need anyone to tell you you’re beautiful when you have the power to say so yourself. You. Are. Beautiful. Say it every time you wash your hands. Lather, rinse, repeat. Molly. Joe. You. Are. Beautiful.

 

Stoplight Circular Breathing. What else are you going to do at the stoplight?  I played clarinet in high school. My band teacher, Mr. Berry, taught me how to do what’s called “diaphragmatic breathing,” which is like kryptonite for your lung muscles. Your diaphragm is the dome-shaped muscle located just below your lungs and your heart. It contracts continually as you breathe. This kind of “belly breathing” encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, this type of breathing slows the heartbeat and can lower or stabilize blood pressure. Thirty years after Mr. Berry’s band class, I still practice breathing that way at intersections. I see a red light, and it reminds me to slow down and breathe. I breathe in a circle around my face. I inhale and count to six through my nose, and then exhale to the count of six through my mouth. Inhale one part of the circle, exhale the other half of the circle out your mouth. I also find that groaning loudly on the exhale feels good! Inside Healium, you’ll find some fascinating breathing stories tied to the windy patterns of a mandalynth.

Guard your Heart. Just like hand sanitizer can repel germs, you too can let go of thoughts and people who don’t serve you. If someone says something negative to you, you get to decide whether your heart receives that comment. It doesn’t have to sink into your soul. Have you ever noticed how a duck’s feathers have the amazing ability to repel water? It can be totally submerged in water, but yet it’s underskin doesn’t get wet! Be a duck. If something doesn’t serve you, let it roll off your back.

Research shows the stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system (lowers the number of lymphocytes). Stress also leads to unhealthy behavioral coping strategies, like drinking, overeating, and smoking. Stress is linked to: headaches; infectious illness (e.g. ‘flu); cardiovascular disease; diabetes, asthma and gastric ulcers.

 

Lowering your anxiety can reduce toxins from your nervous system and protect you from physical illness. So, in a sense, you are washing your brain. What are some of the ways you practice good mental health hygiene? I’d love to see your tips in the comments.

I lost my home in a tornado in 2003.  17 years later, it still stings to watch other people grieve the loss of their memories.

 

As I leave Nashville this week in the wake of the tornado that killed more than 27 people and left 77 missing, I feel like we need to be doing more to try to head off the mental health disasters that will surely follow this and future natural disasters.  Full disclosure…. I’m a technologist and storyteller, not a professional counselor…. but in the handful of tornados, a tsunami, and floods I’ve covered over the last couple decades as a TV reporter, what’s always followed is a shortage of mental health therapists trying to treat a wave of panic attacks, post-traumatic stress, and depression.

 

Clearly, VR is not a replacement for psychotropic medications or professional counseling, but some applications can provide a drugless option for the self-management of stress.  In three peer-reviewed journals, Healium has been shown to reduce anxiety in as little as four minutes but it’s never been used just hours after a natural disaster.  This week in Nashville, we unexpectedly got the chance to better understand and observe how VR works as mental health armor.  We also got the chance to build relationships with other companies creating important solutions for areas of situational stress.

About 250 people including myself were attending the International Virtual Reality Healthcare Association meeting in Nashville this week when the tornado hit in the middle of the night.  I hunkered down in a hotel stairwell along with a handful of others.  In 2003, my family lost their home in an F-3 tornado.  My husband’s family who lived nearby in Canton, MO also lost their home.  Seeing your childhood homes reduced to rubble is something you don’t forget.  While we escaped without injury, the hours immediately after the tornado are often filled with emotional pain.

 

 

The morning after the Nashville tornado at the IVRHA conference, we learned more than 20 people had died and the survivors were assembling at a nearby Red Cross emergency shelter just blocks away from the conference venue at Vanderbilt University.  Here we are in a ballroom talking about the more than 900 published studies showing how VR can be used to ease physical and emotional pain.  Thousands of people had just experienced major trauma within walking distance from our venue.  There were likely more than 50 VR headsets on the trade show floor that could quickly reduce stress in a drugless way.  A handful of people with VR stress management channels from Healium XR, Hatsumi, The Care Channel, BehaVR, and VIRRY app grabbed their headsets and went to the Red Cross emergency shelter in the Centennial Park Sport Complex to see if we could help provide some “virtual” peace.

 

 

My team had shared Healium before in the weeks after Eldon, Missouri’s 2019 tornado but never so soon after the actual event. I wasn’t sure what to expect or whether we should even go.  But after talking with other people at the conference including Sarah Ticho, Walter Greenleaf, and a  mental health professional (we were not able to locate a counselor who could come with us to the actual shelter), we headed to the sports complex expecting to first observe and see whether it was too much chaos to set up a VR station.  What I saw at the shelter made me think VR should be standard mental health hygiene after natural disasters.  Our first instinct is to send bottled water and hand sanitizer.  While these items are super important to keep you hydrated and germ-free, these items don’t do much for your mental health.  After all, stress is responsible for up to 60% of all human illness and disease according to the AMA.

 

Inside the temporary shelter, there were about 50 cots set up on a tennis court. People were dropping off diapers and toilet paper.  One father and his daughter packed their car with 150 donated pillows and were carrying them inside.  We set out a handful of VR headsets on a bench and waited.

“Want to go to the beach?” I asked a Red Cross volunteer who was taking a break. “Oh God, yes.”  He hadn’t slept the night before as he was called in to work the disaster.

 

Seeing the wave of stressed people and first responders coming through the doors at Centennial Park, some with their clothing still dusty from clearing debris, others with ice packs to soothe their physical bruises, Red Cross volunteers started pointing us to people who we can only imagine were in emotional pain.

 

“She needs it.”

 

“After you get finished with her, there’s a lady over there who lost everything,” said a volunteer who had worked through the night to triage storms victims.

 

In a couple hours, first responders, police officers, nurses and even insurance agents on storm duty stopped by our VR hub outside the shelter to be self-soothed.  A mother with three young children got some well-deserved virtual peace as she floated through a Nebula in space and her three daughters listened to a story about a soothing waterfall.   A group of boys fed animals in Africa and said they could smell the flowers in New Zealand being shown in the headset.

 

 

The Care Channel, Healium XR, BehaVR, Hatsumi, and VIRRY share their content with Nashville survivors

 

Outside the shelter, a couple who was in a tent when the storm hit sat on a bleacher listening to praise music.  The woman had a small cut on her chin and was worried as she had lost her phone in the storm.  She asked about the headsets we were carrying and wanted to try them.   A few minutes into an experience where light moves through a virtual world, I watched as her breathing eventually slowed, her jaw dropped, her hands unclenched and I could see her palm slowly opening as if the tension was leaving her body.  Later, one young man raised his hands to try to catch virtual snowflakes in a magic snow globe.  “I like it in here. It’s beautiful.”

 

The effects of virtual reality are not permanent but existing research shows the afterglow can last for hours after you take off the headset.  For a few minutes, these Nashville survivors got to be “someplace else” and experience a virtual peace.  What we saw here further solidified my belief that VR and AR when used appropriately, can and should be part of our mental health hygiene.  While technology can’t always protect us from dangers in reality, it can take us back to a place of beauty, to catch our breath, and build resilience to fight future storms.

 

If you’d like to donate to the American Red Cross Relief efforts, please text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Please make your check or money order payable to the “American Red Cross” and mail to: 2201 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203.

 

Sarah Hill, CEO Healium, @sarahmidmo

The Scholarly Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Science published a study this week investigating shifts in mood states using virtual reality before blood donations at the American Red Cross. The study involved 33 volunteers measuring states including tension, anger, fatigue, happiness and calmness.

Needle injections are part of many medical procedures, yet “needle fear” and “needle phobia” frequently result in avoiding necessary treatments and an unwillingness to donate blood. Studies examining fear of needles have reported prevalence estimates as high as 91%. Because this anxiety has real-life consequences, a recent review of research on needle fear recommended that “greater attention should be given to evidence-based approaches to alleviate fear during injections”.

“This study demonstrated that an inexpensive and brief VR intervention can have a significant positive impact on mood just prior to a needle stick, reducing tension and fatigue and increasing feelings of calmness and happiness in an adult population. This is consistent with other research showing that VR reduces pain and anxiety better than “treatment as usual” in a pediatric population during a routine blood draw [Gold| Maher 2017]. The apparent success of VR in reducing anxiety may be, in part, due to the strong feeling of “presence” achieved in these environments [Waterworth |Waterworth | Mantovani 2011 and 2014]. “Presence,” is defined as the subjective feeling of being in another place. As there are multiple visual and auditory cues in a traditional hospital or blood donation setting that could trigger or exacerbate an anxiety response, removal of these cues may be helpful in reducing anxiety. In addition, rather than simply removing a potentially stressful environment, VR can replace these stressful cues with an environment designed to be soothing, comforting, and mood enhancing.”

 

 

– Dr. Jeff Tarrant, Director of the Neuromeditation Institute and Chief Science Officer for Healium. The study was published in the Scholarly Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

Participants watched a four-minute Healium experience where an old, barren tree transformed from lifeless to full of color and blooms. You can read the full study here: https://lupinepublishers.com/psychology-behavioral-science-journal/pdf/SJPBS.MS.ID.000150.pdf