A leading doctor unveils the groundbreaking potential of virtual medicine. Brennan Spiegel has spent years studying the medical power of the mind, and in VRx he reveals a revolutionary new kind of care: virtual medicine. It offers the possibility of treating illnesses without solely relying on intrusive surgeries or addictive opioids. Virtual medicine works by convincing your body that it's somewhere, or something, it isn't. It's affordable, widely available, and has already proved effective against everything from burn injuries to stroke to PTSD. Spiegel shows how a simple VR headset lets a patient with schizophrenia confront the demon in his head, how dementia patients regain function in a life-size virtual town, and how vivid simulations of patients' experiences are making doctors more empathic. VRx is a revelatory account of the connection between our bodies and ourselves. In an age of overmedication and depersonalized care, it offers no less than a new way to heal.
About the Author
Brennan Spiegel is director of health-services research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he directs the Center for Outcomes Research and Education, which maintains one of the largest and most widely cited therapeutic virtual reality programs in the world. Spiegel is also professor of medicine and public health at UCLA. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
“VRx is a powerful testament to the therapeutic potential of virtual worlds and a fascinating glimpse into the future of medicine.”—Wired
"An instant classic and a definitive introduction to the healing power of virtual reality. VRx is a tour-de-force bolstered by Dr. Spiegel's impressive scientific credentials, innovative clinical work, and deep empathy for the physical and emotional suffering of his patients. It is destined to become a guiding light for anyone who wants to use technology to ease suffering and make a better real world. If you need a reason to feel hopeful for the future, look no further."—Jane McGonigal, PhD, author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Change the World
"VRx is a book full of magic, miracles, medicine, science, and most important, hope. With eloquence and humor, Dr. Spiegel authoritatively paints the picture of a drugless world in which pain lessens, or is alleviated. The list of experimental evidence of the power of VR includes PTSD, terrible burns, acute pain, depression, difficult childbirth. This new therapy is available through an ancient organ: the brain. Its thrilling possibilities and triumphs are the story of this book."—Susan Stamberg, Special Correspondent, NPR
"VRx is an engaging journey into the cutting edge of virtual, augmented, and extended reality. Dr Spiegel, a leading figure in the field, brilliantly captures the stories and science enabling this emergent field, and the promise of what lies ahead."— Daniel Kraft, Founder & Chair, Exponential Medicine, Singularity University
"If you are curious or concerned about the future of healthcare, then VRX is a must-read. It is smart, thoughtful, and informative -- not only does Dr. Spiegel provide us with an exciting view of the future of healthcare, he also captivates us by weaving into his narrative a healthy mixture of neuroscience, history, philosophy, and drama."—Dr. Walter Greenleaf, Stanford University
"VRx is a compelling, provocative, and highly readable account of the transformative possibilities that VR has inspired across healthcare. Spiegel blends those observations with the critical eye of both a healthcare provider and a scientist, and draws insightful connections between VR and philosophy, neuroscience, meditation, psychedelics, the Information Age, culture, health, and well-being. This is more than just another book about virtual reality. VRx asks us to consider the richness of the human experience and the ways that we are challenged to understand it."—Skip Rizzo, University of Southern California
"If you have ever wondered what the future of medicine holds, VRx is a must-read. It is elegantly written, scientifically accurate, and engaging. Through the voices of patients whose pain, anxiety, and/or suffering have been alleviated by VR, Dr. Spiegel makes the compelling case for VR as a medical treatment for a variety of conditions."—David C. Rhew, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Microsoft
"Virtual reality may seem like the stuff of science fiction, yet it is currently being used to treat some of healthcare's most vexing problems. Brennan Spiegel, a world leader in applying the wonders of VR to patient care, masterfully walks us through both the remarkable science behind VR (which is really about how humans think and process information) and its burgeoning applications. Told with passion and without undue hype, VRx opened my eyes to VR's potential to transform health and healthcare."—Robert Wachter, author of The Digital Doctor
"Brennan Spiegel leads us on a captivating journey across the mind-body barrier to discover a world where our perceptions can be molded into a new reality. A reality that suspends our pain, anxiety, and depression, unleashes our capacity for empathy, and creates a space for physical and emotional healing. This essential book on VR in medicine, by giving equal time to patient voices and scientific evidence, shows us how modern medicine needs VR to achieve its original, yet elusive goal, which to treat the whole patient."—Sherry Pagoto, professor of allied health sciences at the University of Connecticut and director of the UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media
"VRx is a must-read. Dr. Spiegel provides not only one of the most convincing explanations of the long neglected key role the brain plays in many chronic diseases, but it points out a simple, inexpensive way of accessing the brain's tremendous healing power, without a need for expensive, often ineffective medications."—Emeran Mayer, author of The Mind-Gut Connection