Arjan Tillema

IC Nurse at the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG)

While I am sitting with my feet in the softly lapping waves and see nothing around me but rocks, a clear blue sky and a pebbled beach, I am reminded of the words of the psychologist: “You have to saw Arjan, saw a lot. That was because that was the only thing I could think of as an answer to the question “What makes your head empty?” Me: “Sawing, lots of sawing”. I built a pergola and a wood shed during the crisis. So I sawed a lot. With a head full of sawdust, squeaky ears and screwed-up thumbs broken, I would cycle to the next shift on the Covid roster, more or less relaxed. Blue coat on, hat on, mask on, glasses on, name sticker on and going in. Slowly the sawdust blew out of my head, the squeak disappeared from my ears and my head filled with new impressions, sounds, thoughts.

On the bike back home, the thoughts sawed through my head. The sawing didn’t really help. Not for long. Gloves off, disinfect, hat off, mouth mask off, coat off, disinfect, break. “And this gentleman has to go too, but after the break! Definitely not during working hours”. So I was tempted to get acquainted with the VR glasses of Vrelax. I told myself not to want to see all the films in the 15 minutes I had, but only to let one film work for me. From the moment I put on the glasses I felt it. Peace. Sunshine. Rippling water. A beautiful beach in the distance and far-away….. nothing. I am not exaggerating when I say that after 15 minutes I had the overwhelming feeling that I had been on vacation.

And now, a day later, as I sit with my feet in the virtual waves again just after lunch and see nothing around me but rocks, the ever clear blue sky and the pebbles in the clear seawater, I think about the sawing and tinkering and all the other attempts to clear my head and suddenly realize what I really needed: this…. And tomorrow I go again.

Mark Wallinga (53)

Cancer patient Radboud UMC

My bone cancer leads to a lot of chronic pain. I have been on the road for a while now and have ended up in a black hole shall we say. I find it increasingly difficult to function and notice that my physical condition has a direct effect on my mental state. I used to be fit and happy, now I get angry over nothing. You get the feeling that you are burdening your loved ones with this and start to isolate yourself. This isolation leads to structural depressive thoughts, which makes my life no fun at the moment. Only when you are in the middle of cancer do you start thinking about how you can make life pleasant again for yourself and your loved ones. For example, I heard about VRelax through a Radiologist at Radboud. “Virtual relaxation in nature” he said. That appealed to me because I am an outdoor person. Actually going outside is rarely an option for me so I immediately contacted Vrelax.

Now, six months later, my treatment is going in the right direction. Nobody can take those glasses away from me anymore! They are a great help in my treatment process. It sounds crazy, but those VR glasses become your buddy. I have found a structure in which I use the glasses every other day at set times. From the chair I now spend an hour in nature. The positive experiences in VRelax therefore strengthen my state of mind and give me energy to approach the trips to Radboud UMC in a positive way.

Ferdinand Westra

Cancer patient UMCG

I have metastatic prostate cancer and am out of treatment. My prognosis now is terminal, palliative phase. On a regular basis I am in very severe pain. I have a bone metastasis at L2-L4 I believe, and a nerve strand to my right leg gets pinched as a result. I am now under control with a morphine pump, but the constant morphine dose is very unfavorable for my bowel function. So it is very important to me to be able to reduce the painkillers…

I was immediately excited when I heard about VRelax. I tried out the glasses regularly. For me, swimming with dolphins, among others, was extremely relaxing. And relaxation, in turn, has a de-stressing effect on me. Thanks to VRelax I am doing a little better, although I can’t say for sure that this is entirely due to the glasses. I do have the feeling that it can work well with short and intense pain stimuli. Over the past few years, I have undergone several extremely painful procedures. The most painful were the insertion of a Nefrostomy (kidney stoma), bringing two tubes from your back to the kidneys, where the kidneys themselves cannot be anesthetized. Fortunately I got rid of the stoma, but I am still afraid that this procedure will have to be repeated.

An equally painful experience was a camera examination of my bladder at a time when that whole area was inflamed and cramped with a lot of tumor growth. It was horrible… while I can normally have this examination well. I am convinced that in such procedures VRelax is a blessing. I am deeply convinced of the power of neuroplasticity, and from my experience the effect of VRelax in pain management is also in this area.

I can feel that as long as I am at home I remain well balanced and that meditation and mental practice is effective in handling the pain, in addition to the morphine. In a hospital stay, I would experience this differently… Then the VRelax glasses also help to be in a healing environment for a while, which for me at least, a hospital is not. My home is fortunately a healing environment, but that is not true for everyone. Meditation (not becoming the pain) is also part of my rehabilitation. And I notice that the VRelax glasses add a dimension; I feel less ‘alone’ so to speak in the experience of the VRelax glasses, you are taken into an experience from the outside, whereas you have to get meditation from within yourself.

Daniëlle Arends

IC nurse Deventer Ziekenhuis

After we tested the VR glasses for two weeks in the Intensive Care Unit, it turned out that the stress level dropped among the nurses. I immediately started trying it out and was immediately enthusiastic. If you’re at your wits’ end and need a break, this is a great way to relax. Taking a break during your shift is quite difficult in practice. And with VR glasses you are in a totally different world. Even the music is tuned to the environment. I like the underwater world best, but there are also meditation or muscle relaxation exercises. Especially in these corona times, these are the innovations that make the work a little more bearable.

You are peaking so much in the ICU that you simply get a need for moments to retreat. If only briefly. For me, 15 minutes of relaxing in virtual nature using VRelax VR goggles is exactly what works for me. You move yourself into a relaxing world and unwind. This way you can clear your head for a while and recharge mentally.

Merle Zandvliet

Infection prevention expert Ijsselland Hospital

Last year I worked a lot with other healthcare professionals because of the Covid-19 situation. Every day was hectic and my brain was ‘on’. We were given the opportunity to test the VRelax goggles. It was striking that I immediately came to relaxation, something I had not been able to do before. In a very pleasant way, both in terms of sound and vision, you are taken to totally different worlds to calm down your stressed brain and body. I felt free to go swimming with the dolphins in the glasses. This just made me emotional, so beautiful and soothing. After I put on the glasses I came to the realization that I had broken the pattern of constantly being “on” in a healthy way. The emotion I felt here was very positive and seemed to be enhanced by the VRelax glasses.

For me and also my colleagues, I noticed that the glasses and app are user-friendly. You can explore the different worlds in a relaxing way and it works very intuitively. I would sincerely recommend the VRelax glasses to all my colleagues who feel the need, but certainly also to the people in my private environment. You just want someone else to have this relaxing experience!