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Swim with dolphins in hospital — NRC

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A pod of dolphinsThese days, Virtual Reality is used more and more for medical purposes. An example of one of these applications is to relieve pain. Due to the immersive power of virtual reality, patients experience less pain. This may lead to less use of medication and thus improve patient well-being. And of course, a drug-free medicine has no environmental impact! Which is great news for our wild dolphin friends. We are excited that Dutch newspaper NRC once again mentioned us in this article about the use of VR in the medical world.

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Project Brave Heart

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Lauren Schneider, clinical assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, is exploring the impact of VR therapy in a pilot study called Project Brave Heart. The study aims to see if pediatric cardiology patients who participate in a pre-procedure virtual reality (VR) experience have less anxiety and stress than patients who don’t participate. The study includes sending a VR headset home with patients who have a scheduled cardiac catheterization procedure so they can learn about the procedure and practice relaxation techniques at home. Although these catheterizations are outpatient procedures, catheterization patients must undergo general anesthesia. Doctors find the experience can cause stress and anxiety for patients, especially if they’re young.

Although VR technology is expanding into medical settings, research into its health care benefits is in the early stages, and it’s believed that no one has studied its impact on children with congenital heart diseases. We are happy to see this research has been shared by multiple platforms. The full articles can be seen on the links below.

Stanford Children's Health      Business Wire      Virtual Reality Magazine

More than a game — NRC

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Item in newspaperRecently, the psychiatric patients admitted to the University Medical Hospital in Groningen (UMCG), can swim with “wild” dolphins. The footage of the Dolphin Swim Club is used in their treatment of depression, psychosis and anxiety disorders. Psychiatrist Wim Veling: ‘Patients with psychological problems often have difficulties to relax. Stress enhances a lot of these psychological problems. This VR experience helps to reduce stress by immersing patients in a serene underwater environment surrounded by dolphins.’
Language: Dutch

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MayDay Fund – PCMag

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ConferenceLast September, we flew to Los Angeles to present our project at a conference about Virtual Reality in pain management. The conference was organised by the MayDay Fund in collaboration with Stanford University. “PCMag got a quick live demo before they went onstage, and it’s beautiful. After a sudden immersion into cool waters, wild dolphins swim so close you feel as if you could touch them. A few moments amongst the palliative soothing melange of sonar clicks from the dolphins and sensuous deep seascape sounds, and dopamine and serotonin levels do rise significantly. You can see why this is gathering traction with Nordic healthcare professionals like the Norwegian Cancer Society.”

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The Dolphin Swim Club live at Bynt – Omrop Fryslân

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Marijke, our founder, was invited to speak about the Dolphin Swim Club at Bynt, a programme by Omrop Fryslân. Bynt offers interesting reports and events on current topics and encourages guests to tell their stories.

Therapeutic swimming with dolphins is now possible from the comfort of your living room. Artist Marijke Sjollema and her husband introduce ‘occulus glasses’ that allow you to swim with dolphins, in Virtual Reality. And today this was put into practice for the first time.

In this film you see bottlenose and spinner dolphins, filmed in the bright blue waters of the Red Sea. We were lucky so many pods showed up, there were times we were surrounded by no less than 90 dolphins! Research has shown that dolphin therapy may have healing effects, but this is usually carried out with captive dolphins. With our 360-degrees film, we hope to offer a sustainable and animal-friendly alternative.”

The interview with Marijke starts at 16:45 minutes.
Language: Frysian

UMCG starts virtual swimming with dolphins — Omrop Fryslân

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A pod of dolphinsSwimming with wild dolphins in Virtual Reality as a therapy for patients suffering from, for example, autism or depression. The idea comes from the artist Marijke Sjollema, from Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. She set off to film wild dolphins in Egypt in 2015. The University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) embraced the project immediately. The hospital starts with a study of the effects of this new drug free medicine.
Language: Frisian & Dutch

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UMCG interested in virtual swimming – Omrop Fryslân

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Woman with an occulus headsetThe hospital UMCG in Groningen shows interest in the Virtual Reality project of the Dolphin Swim Club. They have developed a programme that makes it possible to actually swim with dolphins. The art project also has a scientific impact. Swimming with dolphins is sometimes used as a form of therapy, especially for autism and depression. The content of the Dolphin Swim Club is filmed so realistically, patients feel as if they truly swim with the dolphins and that should have a positive effect on the treatment. The UMGC will investigate the results of the programme over the next two years.

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UMCG helpt bij virtueel zwemmen met wilde dolfijnen – Fryslân1 | by Karin de Mik

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Zwemmen met wilde dolfijnen. Bij veel mensen staat het bovenaan het verlanglijstje. Met een in Friesland ontwikkelde virtual reality bril kan iedereen dat nu. Bovendien helpt het wetenschappelijk onderzoek te bekostigen.  

Overal zie je tuimelende dolfijnen voor je ogen verschijnen. Je draait je hoofd naar boven en beneden, naar links en rechts. En dolfijnen schieten voorbij. Het kan dankzij een recent ontwikkelde speciale virtual realitybril.

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Een dolfijn als huisdier?

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Dat is toch bizar en dieronvriendelijk? Niets is minder waar. Het kan vanaf vandaag en het zou weleens een nieuw medicijn kunnen worden.

Het is koud. Grijs. Maar de bestemming is prachtig. Ik ben net geland op de luchthaven van Kopenhagen en heb nog een lange reis voor de boeg. De trein tuft me dwars door Zweden, richting het eiland Öland. Zou dat Zweeds voor eiland zijn? Of heb ik niet goed op de kaart gekeken en heeft het eiland een andere naam? Het is de plek waar Benno en Marijke wonen. Afgelegener kun je bijna niet wonen. Op zulke desolate plekken wonen bijzondere mensen met bijzondere ideeën.

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The dolphins are coming – Leeuwarder Courant

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Marijke in the Leeuwarder Courant

Ever since encountering wild dolphins for the first time, it was Marijke’s dream to bring the magic of dolphins closer to the people. When she discovered Virtual Reality, she thought this is the perfect way. She founded the Dolphin Swim Club in 2015.  ‘Dolphins are magical. They bring us great wisdom and joy. Just look at the effect they have on people. They make everybody happy. No other animal touches us the way dolphins can.’

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