Mental wellness champion Healium wins P&G Ventures Innovation Challenge

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Feeling anxious or stressed? Healium, winner of the P&G Ventures Innovation Challenge, could have an experience to help with that

Quick read

➨ Healium provides nature-based escapes in AR or VR that can be controlled by the user’s brain waves or heart rate via consumer wearables such as a smartwatch or EEG-sensing headband
➨ Healium won the P&G Ventures Innovation Challenge with a pitch for a ‘digiceuticals aisle’ where its mental health hygiene products could be sold alongside physical hygiene products in drugstores or other retailers
➨ The award includes a $10,000 cash prize and the opportunity to partner with Procter & Gamble startup accelerator P&G Ventures

The story

Healium, developer of immersive experiences for managing anxiety and stress, has won the P&G Ventures Innovation Challenge.

The award includes a $10,000 cash prize and the opportunity to partner with Procter & Gamble startup accelerator P&G Ventures.

Healium provides nature-based escapes in AR or VR that can be controlled by the user’s brain waves or heart rate via consumer wearables such as a smartwatch or EEG-sensing headband.

The developer’s unique selling point is that its visual experiences are controlled by the user’s feelings, so they can learn to self-regulate their stress.

According to Healium, its experiences can reduce anxiety and improve mood in as little as four minutes. They have been viewed more than seven million times.

Dr Jeff Tarrant, chief scientist for Healium and director of the Neuromeditation Institute, explained: “When you take a virtual trip to a beautiful 360 landscape, your brain believes what it sees and the nervous system calms down almost immediately.”

“When combined with our biofeedback technology, Healium is a powerful tool to change your mood and your mind.”

Tarrent and chief executive officer Sarah Hill developed Healium through StoryUp Studios, after studying VR’s impact on stress response.

Last year, Healium joined XRHealth’s VRHealth platform for patients and clinicians.

Healium won the P&G Ventures Innovation Challenge with a pitch for a ‘digiceuticals aisle’ where its mental health hygiene products could be sold alongside physical hygiene products in drugstores or other retailers.

Explaining the concept, Hill said: “What can you buy at your local drugstore for your mental wellbeing?”

“A partner with Procter & Gamble’s global reach would allow us to more quickly get our digiceuticals in the hands of 157 million stressed consumers who are looking for drugless solutions to quickly downshift their nervous systems and escape their current realities.”

Leigh Radford, senior vice president and general manager at P&G Ventures, said: “The Innovation Challenge enables P&G Ventures to discover and work with visionaries who share a mutual dedication to finding solutions that improve the way people live their lives.”

“I truly believe P&G’s next big breakthrough innovation and brand will result from the collaboration of the best of an external partner like Healium and the best of P&G. We are excited to see where Healium and the broader digiceuticals category could go next.”

The body of evidence proving the positive clinical impact of platforms such as Healium is growing everyday.

The Scholarly Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Science published a study led by Tarrant and Healium in September 2019 that investigated shifts in mood states using VR before blood donations at the American Red Cross.

It measured states including tension, anger, fatigue, happiness and calmness across 33 volunteers who might have experienced ‘needle fear’ before giving blood.

The study demonstrated that an inexpensive and brief VR intervention can have a significant positive impact on mood just prior to a needle stick, reducing tension and fatigue and increasing feelings of calmness and happiness in an adult population.

Watch Hill explain how Healium works in the video below.

Have you tried Healium or other mental wellness experiences? What did you think? Let VRWorldTech know via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or editor@vrworldtech.com.

Main image: A user watches a Healium VR story about a magical tree
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