Updated: Nov 15, 2020
The Wend, is a mental wellness solution involving Virtual Reality (VR).
‘Wend’ is a traditional English word meaning to travel in an indirect route to a destination. “The Wend helps you to get to where you want to go, for example, experience the Northern Lights, without having to sacrifice too much – not many people have the luxury of physically being able to get up and go,” smiles Melloney.
Through VR people can participate in an immersive 3600 real environment based on nature. By using a headset and real footage you are able to transport yourself to another world of your choosing such as the beach, Mount Everest, or even swimming with dolphins. Your brain perceives the experience as real which allows you to gain the physical benefits. This can be compared to a forced mediation and consequently your body produces antioxidants that rejuvenate you, keeping you healthy and stronger, while increasing your energy levels.
“There are all these wonderful environments that can naturally heal you. That kind of gift for people is something that I am extremely passionate about,” says Melloney.
The Wend is the first company in South Africa to conceptualise the use of this technology for addressing mental ill health such as depression, stress and anxiety. “We came up with this concept of allowing a person to escape and to use virtual reality as a mental health solution. When we came up with the idea, we were the first in the world in the spa and wellness industry,” she explained. Since then the use of VR has boomed internationally with many other companies offering similar products.
The Wend’s evolution is a concept that took hold when Melloney was struggling to overcome the trauma downward spiral of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She was at a point of desperation, “needing to escape, get strong again and find healing from the inside”, when the appropriateness of this technology occurred to her.
Melloney is now offering the medical proven healing therapies and relaxation to the medical industry with the focus on, mental wellness, pain relief, pre/post procedure anxieties, rehabilitation, and many other wellness areas. The products are also available for patients experiencing boredom while having treatments, recovering in hospital, or waiting in doctors’ rooms for scheduled appointments.
From a corporate point of view, VR is a wonderful tool for inclusion in an employee wellness programme with a focus on investing in mental health. VR can be used as part of a daily routine as the experience only takes ten to fifteen minutes to get the desired results. This intervention allows employees to lead a happier life at work and at home ensuring that their social interactions are improved and their focus much clearer. With clearer minds employees are able to be more productive and creative.
VR videos can also be customised for educational and orientational purposes in a range of different applications, such as hospital tours, staff orientation, team building, and product marketing among other uses.
“When you put the headset on you feel the benefits – it is an investment in us as a human race,” concluded Melloney.
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