Take a whiff of the latest development in virtual reality technology available to further immerse patients in psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Virtual reality is a quickly growing sector in the psychedelics industry, and mental health treatment company Ketamine One is now collaborating with OVR Technology to provide a first-of-its-kind VR scent experience as part of its psychedelic-assisted therapy programs.
The agreement provides Ketamine One clinics OVR Technology’s INHALE Wellness Platform, which is an olfactory-enabled VR platform designed to deepen immersion, promote relaxation, and help manage stress during psychedelic experiences on ketamine, psilocybin, DMT, and MDMA.
The platform combines the benefits of mindfulness, breath work, and meditation with the next generation of aromatherapy. The wireless, lightweight head-mounted display, called the the ION (pictured below), utilizes scent cartridges to emits scent particles in coordination with VR technology designed to deepen a patient’s immersive experience.
“We believe that the ION device contains the most accurate on-mask scent technology currently available on the market,” says Dr. Quang Henderson, Chair of Ketamine One’s Clinic Innovation Council.
“The ability for our clinicians to alter perceptual experiences with VR and the ION is extremely promising,” she continues. “Optimizing the therapeutic setting is one of the main goals of our VR-based research and development program and being able to utilize the sense of smell to help patients relax, reduce tension, and lower stress is expected to result in the development of a comprehensive treatment.”
The company says scents delivered through the ION are water-based and made from a combination of natural and synthetic ingredients that have undergone extensive testing.
VR is steadily gaining popularity in the world of psychedelics. A positive experience has been known for a long time to hinge on proper set and setting, and computer simulations can provide calming spaces, while further immersing the patient in that setting with appropriate sounds, music, and now scent.
According to Ketamine One, research has shown that scents elicit emotional and evocative associations and can immediately alter mood. Other research shows that, as soon as an odor is registered by the brain, it activates the amygdala-hippocampal complex in the limbic system where emotions, memories, and associations are processed, nearly instantaneously.
Adam Deffett, Interim CEO of Ketamine One, believes that this technology will “lead to clinically validated solutions for use not only in our facilities, but also in patients’ homes, through the development of a portable digital therapeutic offering in the future.”
“This is the first VR platform that understands user behavior in the virtual world and responds with real-time sensory stimulation,” adds Aaron Wisniewski, CEO and co-founder of OVR Technology. “It has the potential to significantly enhance the wellness capabilities of an already promising technology.”
OVR Technology — a leader in providing scent solutions for virtual reality, augmented reality and other digital environments — was founded in 2017 and is based in Burlington, Vermont.
Ketamine One is focused on consolidating medical clinics and becoming a North American leader in mental health treatments, with a network of 16 current clinics across the continent.