Both physical therapists and occupational therapists have had great success using virtual reality to treat a wide range of conditions, but not everyone who is interested has had the chance to make use of this technology.

The majority of physiotherapists in the Netherlands and Belgium are not yet working with virtual reality (VR), but are considering using this technology in their treatments in the long term. This is one of the results of a qualitative and quantitative study conducted by Corpus VR among physiotherapists in both countries. 

The research also shows that there is still a lot of uncertainty about the role that virtual reality can play. For example, about a quarter of the respondents think that virtual reality does not increase therapy compliance, even though it has been proven that this technology has a positive influence on compliance.

According to the study, currently just under 20% of Dutch and 10% of Belgian physiotherapists use VR in their treatments. The use of VR for physical complaints, pain relief, and relaxation is approximately equal. Among physiotherapists who do not yet use VR, the use of VR for physical complaints generates the most interest: 73% of the Belgian respondents indicate that they are considering VR for this application area, compared to 66% of their Dutch colleagues. Only a small percentage (the Netherlands: 11%, Belgium: 4%) indicate that they do not want to use VR at all.

Three-quarters of respondents mention the cost factor as the most important obstacle to implement VR in their therapy offerings. Moreover, 49% of Dutch and 25% of Belgian physiotherapists indicate that the added value of VR is still unclear to them. The fact that a quarter of the respondents believe that VR does not contribute to therapy compliance also shows that there is still a lot of unawareness about the possibilities of VR.

“The research shows that there is still room for improvement, through good information and education,” says Kiki Coppelmans, psychosomatic physiotherapist and co-founder of Corpus VR. “But at the same time, the results show that we are on the right track: one in three respondents now think more positively about VR compared to a year ago. And that is not surprising of course; in our sector we see more and more innovative solutions, including VR, that make treatments faster, smarter, and better. Not only the practitioner and the patient benefit from this, but ultimately our society as a whole.”