Virtual Reality Meets Wellness: 4 Inventive Ways You Could Use VR in the Future

Virtual reality has been a big buzzword for the last few years. There are a ton of companies, that include HTC, Oculus, Sony and Google, trying their hand at creating the best simulated reality at a reasonable price. Virtual reality is well-known in the gaming industry, (Deloitte graphic) however, more industries are seeing the benefits of creating an alternative reality for their consumers. Virtual reality has been used to treat social disorders, help paraplegics regain motor control, and provide a competitive edge for architecture firms (architecture). Pretty soon the beauty and wellness industries will be following foot (if they haven't already). I have my own theories on what the future of virtual reality in wellness will look like but first let's talk about what exactly virtual reality really is. But what exactly is virtual reality?

What is VR?

Virtual reality, or VR for short, is a computer generated environment that you can explore and interact with. Most VR systems targeted for consumer use involve a goggle-based headset and may require your phone for visual input. When you strap on the headset and look through the lenses, you'll see an artificial environment in the space surrounding you. When you move your head or walk around, the virtual space moves with you, changing your field of field. You're officially in an alternative reality!

So back to the real matter at hand: how can virtual reality help you in everyday life? What does the future of VR hold for us wellness nuts? Virtual reality is still making its way into mainstream culture but I can think of a few ways it could be useful to you in the near future:

Personal sous chef/cooking techniques

Ever come home from a long day at work, open up the fridge ready to cook the meal that will satiate your appetite only to find a few random odds and ends that just don't seem to come together and form a legitimate meal?

I know I have. Usually I end up doing a web search for recipes (chicken kale recipes?.....ANNND *fingers crossed* GO) or even worse ordering food for delivery because I'll starve before I go out in this -10 degree weather.

Well instead of googling keywords and praying you'll find a not-so-boring recipe, imagine slipping on your stunner shades (aka VR goggles), telling your personal chef what ingredients you have and watching as your kitchen becomes a virtual chef's kitchen fit for Ramsay himself!

What would be even cooler is if the VR system was a pseudo-reality where it could recognize the food displayed in front of you and provide instructions as you saute away. Ramsay would be like: "take that onion and mince it" and then it would pat you on the back for doing such a good job. OK - so that would entail some serious upgrades but I have a non-cooking friend or two who could really take advantage of this kind of technology.

Guided virtual meditations

Imagine you've had a stressful day and you just need to relax so you pick up your VR headset and gear up for your guided meditation voiced by the one and only Ryan Gosling! Within a matter of minutes you're walking along the shoreline of the beach, listening to the seagulls cawing above you, fully immersed in your virtual surrounding.

As your mind drifts off wondering what Ryan is wearing, you bring your attention back to your surreal environment and sink deeper into your relaxation.

Sounds pretty awesome to me!

Guided meditations would be a great use for VR systems. You could meditate on that stressful flight or on the train ride home from work. This could be particularly useful to beginner meditators who have difficulty visualizing and sinking into a meditative state.

Personal fitness instruction

I've got a secret to share with you...

I haven't worked out in a realllllly long 2 months. Shhh don't tell anybody. When I was working out my favorite way to do so was through group exercise classes. The loud music, the hot sticky air, the grimaces I shared with my fellow companions... sounds like I'm in a crowded club and the DJ just switched the song for a third time in 2 mins lol.

What if you could get that same experience (not the club but the workout) in your own home! Similar to the guided meditations, having a simulated personal trainer barking orders at you or joining other VRers may be the thing you need to get you moving. Work out videos never worked for me but joining a virtual backdrop that evokes realistic/ that imitates real life conditions i.e. the mirrored walls or fresh grass beneath your feet and allows for personal feedback would definitely entice me to work out in my living room.

Harmonize your home

Fluff up some throw pillows and glamify your bedroom. As I mentioned earlier, architecture firms are taking advantage of the benefits of using virtual reality to showcase their designs to prospective clients. Well, imagine (I know, I know, you're doing a LOT of imagining but stick with me for a sec) if that could be taken a step further! Say you’re looking to spruce up your bedroom and want to add a few nice pieces like a new headboard.

Welp, in comes your personal interior decorator to help you out! Just strap on your VR headset, tell your virtual decorator what you're looking for and be shown a slew of headboards from your favorite store right there in front of your eyes! Think of all the time and stress it would save you wondering if it's too big or the right color. Bonus points: you can even buy right there through the virtual reality!

There are a number of ways virtual reality could be used to make us live a healthier life or even look prettier. With more companies making good use of the technology, you'll definitely be hearing more talk about VR in the near future. Personally, I'm just waiting for it to catch like wildfire in the beauty and wellness industries.

So tell me what you think. Do you like these ideas? Which of these would you use? Are there other uses for VR you'd like to see? Let me know in the comments!!

Zuri McClelland