Virtual reality is being harnessed by medicine to treat everything from pain to phobias
A new book by Dr Brennan Spiegel, a physician in the US, makes the argument for a therapy that acknowledges the mind-body connection.
Imagine feeling pain in a non-existent limb or an itch that cannot be scratched. It is a maddening sensation, always nagging and niggling away, and for some amputees it is very real.
Called Phantom limb pain, the sensation has been described in medical literature as far back as in the 16th century, and even has echoes in fiction. Captain Ahab, the protagonist of the classic Moby Dick, was haunted by the ghost of a lost leg. Closer home, in Vikram Chandra’s Love and Longing in Bombay, Major General Antia’s missing leg ached intolerably, years after the amputation.