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Kaiser Permanente has retrieved its poor reputation from the clenches of the 80’s and now boasts many accolades and awards of recognition for its leadership in healthcare and programs, leaders, and in places to work. Patients no longer complain regularly about mishaps, insurance nightmares and long office waits. Kaiser ranks top in member satisfaction and has invested billions in electronic records and modernizing medical department and administrative equipment for the benefit of practitioners and patients alike. I, myself, am a Kaiser patient, and credit the payer-provider organization for saving the life of both myself and my husband when we were each faced with life-threatening diseases — him with a heart attack in 2009 and me with breast cancer, 5 years ago in 2013.

I found out about my breast cancer on my 43rd birthday at 8 am. The phone call woke me up. I thought it may have been my dad, calling to sing me happy birthday. “This is Kaiser. We’re calling to tell you that your test showed that you are positive for cancer in your left breast. We recommend a mastectomy. We have an opening on Thursday. Would you like to schedule it?”

Um, can I get a second opinion?

“You can,” she responded, “but you don’t want to wait long, it’s very aggressive.”

After a second and third opinion, I took the Thursday appointment and had a mastectomy. I would love to tell you how brave I was, how quickly I recovered, and what a poster child I am for how to approach breast cancer as a patient. But the story is the exact opposite. I went in totally uninformed. I went in with cringed eyes and phenomenal stress. There was no time, and no one there to explain it adequately. It was terrifying. I had barely enough time to search Google to determine which kind of breast cancer it was and what my chances were for surviving. I didn’t know how to find information about what the process was going to be, what my options were, what recovery would be like, or how this would impact me or my family. I was completely in the dark.

The whole process was so quick, there was no time to think about the decisions I was making. We were given pamphlets and a page with checkboxes and if we needed more time to decide, we were left alone in a room to discuss it (and look things up on Google), but I mean, Jesus. Both breasts, just one? Reconstruction or not? Saline or silicone? Tummy tuck add-on (for real, yes, no charge)? Is 11 am good for you?

“You’re so brave,”

“You’re so brave,” people kept saying. That’s a nice thought. I want to be someone that others can look up to, someone who weathered the storm with a stiff upper lip, but I’m afraid I let everyone down on that count. I was in a panic most of the time, I cried after sometimes in confusion about what was happening to my body, sometimes just out of fear of what would happen next. I was a total nuisance to the nurses and doctors, calling on them constantly with questions and concerns and escalating my issues to their supervisors when I didn’t like the answers or treatment I received.

When I got home, I couldn’t stand to look at the scars so I showered in the dark for months. The PTSD from the surgery and procedures afterward did not fade really. I didn’t want to be touched. My self-confidence started to suffer. My very understanding husband was doing whatever he could to support me in my healing, but I kept falling into despair and self-loathing, I didn’t feel whole anymore. Year after year I would watch the breast cancer walk on TV and wonder why I hadn’t bounced back so effortlessly they way the spokeswomen had, in their bright pink t-shirts with ribbons pinned to them. I looked for breast cancer survivor support groups and found two within an hour’s drive. One was for young women under 40. I was 43. The other required that you leave a voice message so I did and no one called me back.

3%

Statistically speaking, there is a 3% chance that I will have cancer in my right breast in the future. Doesn’t seem like a lot but….the chances of winning the National Lottery are 1 in 45,057,474. And I’ve played that, probably, 20 times in my lifetime. Every year since the surgery, when I receive a call from my Kaiser nurse telling me it is time for my annual mammogram and women’s exam, an anvil drops into my stomach. Time to play again.

I schedule a day that I have no meetings because I know that I will be so psychologically and physically triggered that I shouldn’t plan anything else. I usually plan to get cupcakes or ice cream afterward so I have something to look forward to and reward myself (something leftover that my mother used to do for me, I still do for myself).

When cupcakes aren’t enough

We promised you the technology is evolving and this year Oculus came out with a phone-free, tether-free headset with a nice resolution that runs apps that ran on the Samsung Gear VR, which required an expensive phone. I’ve been singing its praises for months, suggesting patients use it in hospital beds, waiting rooms, and doctor’s offices. We even built an Oculus Go application called the Prostate Procedure Guide for patient education and anxiety reduction. I imagine you’re beginning to see some of the origins of our motivations.

At previous exams, I premedicated with anti-anxiety medications and/or recreational drugs. Yes, I’m (not) the portrait of strength and fearlessness, as mentioned. Yet these solutions somehow made me more sensitive to the experience in many ways and that wasn’t productive. This year I am convinced by the extensive research and people I have witnessed and their healing experiences with VR. I have seen and reviewed hundreds of wellness applications on RenewVR and have read hundreds of articles and research papers on the mental health benefits of VR. So I decided to load up my Oculus Go and take it to my appointment.

First was my mammogram. I sat in the waiting room and started an app called Kaleidorium.

I paired the app with my Spotify playlist I use while I make art made up of some current favorite songs (Hearts and Bones, Paul Simon; Let You Love Me, Rita Ora; Wild Things, Alessia Cara; What About Us, Pink) and I watched the beautiful colors change and fly by.

I hear the nurse call my name and forget that I was supposed to be worrying about this procedure. I step into the room with the radiologist to perform the mammogram. She does her thing. I resist the urge to look at the screen but wait for her response. She sees these all day, she knows what’s up. She says it looks good but they’ll contact me in a few days to confirm. I notice that overall I am not so freaked out. Now it’s time for my pelvic exam.

Ladies. Let us speak frankly. One really can’t equally compare a prostate exam to a pelvic exam. I’ll take one of those any day of the week, in fact, well nevermind. Could we more fairly compare it to an alien abduction with a non-consensual probe? Yes, see, several hands just went up in agreement. In a prostate exam, the doctor uses a finger. In a pelvic exam, they start with this:

Wait, you are wondering, are we not past the 1700's? Why yes, that’s true, but we still use steam-punk, friggin’ ice-cold, torture-looking devices and this is just so the doctor can get inside our lady bits, I’m not going to go into what they do once they get in there.

Think cupcakes. Think cupcakes. Think cupcakes.

So, you still get to lie in the same cold slab of weird, paper-covered, stirrup-equipped bench of the 1920’s, thank GOD, thank you SO much! I was left alone to undress and my anxiety started to rise. This procedure can be as brief as 5–15 minutes, but my knees are often times left shaking afterward for hours. This time, when the doctor came in with her assistant, I said, “Give me a moment,”

“I brought my VR headset to help me relax,”

This time I put on an app called Azul. It’s a meditation and mindfulness app that helps you focus.

Instead of looking at the foam panels in the office ceiling and fluorescent light bulbs, I selected a scene, a field with birds in the sky, and I selected the music and laid back. I watched the birds fly in circles.

Before I knew it, she was done. It was that fast. Time flies when you are in VR, people often recount that they thought less time had gone by while they were using it. But in this case, shorter perceived time, no pain, very little discomfort, and no PTSD as I usually have had after this procedure.

As the CEO of NewPathVR, I spend my days evangelizing the psychological benefits of virtual reality. Taking it into my own life is a natural step but one that surpassed my expectations still. I didn’t actually need those cupcakes or meds after all. Virtual reality is a powerful state change tool and remains the most evolutionary force to meet so many industries in years, particularly emotional wellness.

The great news is that I received a clean bill of health. 5 years cancer free!

I recommend the Oculus Go this winter for you, your kids, your friends, and family, believe me, you’ll find uses for it. This spring, you’ll want to grab the Oculus Quest too, for full room-scale VR and higher resolution apps. Here are links to the apps I used but there are hundreds more on renewvr.com.

Kaleidorium: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/go/1700720009953361/

Azul: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/go/1274880599305742/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NewPathVR to be Showcased at Connect with Tech Week at the San Francisco Library

Community Seniors and Families to Explore the Capabilities of Virtual Reality

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 8, 2018 – NewPathVR, an emotional intelligence company building virtual reality experiences for anxiety and depression, today announced plans to bring virtual reality to the community at the Connect with Tech event held by the San Francisco Library, May 7–12, 2018.

Connect with Tech Week is a citywide initiative comprised of events spearheaded by the San Francisco Public Library to promote online access and technology skill-building and to reduce digital disparities in our communities. The programs are free and open to the public. Tech training programs ranging from basic computer skills to beginning coding classes will be offered throughout the library system and partnering locations. Library staff, tech workers and industry professionals will be on hand to help bridge the digital divide and improve your quality of life.

“There’s still some apprehension about virtual technologies, but we love to see what we call ‘conversion on contact’ when a person finally puts a headset on and finds themselves in the immersive world for a few moments,” said Lisa Padilla, CEO of NewPathVR, “we’ve trained hundreds of people how to use VR, many for their first time, and the general reaction is beautiful, it’s not what people expect, people tend to be pleasantly surprised.”

More than 100,000 San Francisco residents lack Internet access at home and/or are not proficient at using the Internet and digital devices. As more basic services are moving online, many are left behind, especially seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families. They lack the knowledge or support to use the Internet and gain digital skills, and view the Internet as difficult, unsafe to use or irrelevant. Last year more than 2,000 people participated in this annual event; gaining knowledge and resources to help them in the ever increasing tech required world.

Access to technology, especially new tech, is a problem for which NewPathVR believes we can break down the walls. As prices come down and software becomes more widely available, with platforms such as RenewVR.com, we believe the wellness applications that will serve to change lives can reach those underserved populations.

Find NewPathVR showcased at the Tech Expo at the San Francisco Library on Thursday, May 10, 1- 3 p.m., Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

About NewPathVR

NewPathVR is the creator of personal development and emotional intelligence applications in virtual reality. The company uses research-based methods from its proprietary Active PsychologyTM library to create wellness applications for VR with the goal of evoking positive change through conscious technology. We also teach accredited courses in VR Psychology and power the world’s first VR wellness portal — RenewVR.com.

Contact:

Ashild Fossum
Marketing and PR
NewPathVR
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
1390 Market Street #2710
San Francisco, CA  94102

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NewPathVR Recognizes National Mental Health Awareness Month

Life With a Mental Illness Theme Highlights Importance of Speaking Up, Sharing What Mental Health Feels like with a #30DaysofMentalHealth #vrpsychology Campaign

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 1, 2018 —When mental illnesses or disorders are talked about, the language typically used to describe them tends to be clinical and impersonal. These words, while useful for doctors or clinicians, often don’t do justice to what life with a mental illness feels like. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—Life With a Mental Illness—is a call to action to share what life with a mental illness feels like to someone going through it.

Mental Health Awareness Month was started in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health). This year, we are building off of the Mental Health America message and encouraging individuals to give voice to what it really means to live at stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 of mental illness. Life with a mental illness is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need. “Mental illnesses are common and better treatable with transformative technologies and new therapies such as virtual reality,” said Lisa Padilla, CEO of NewPathVR. “Sharing and education are keys to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and to showing others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.”

This Mental Health Month, we are encouraging people to speak up through words, stories, and artistic expression about how it feels to live with a mental illness by tagging social media posts with #30DaysofMentalHeath and #vrpsychology. Posting with our hashtag is a way to speak up, to share your point of view with people who may be struggling to explain what they are going through—and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

NewPathVR will be creating emotional expression pieces through art throughout the month which can be followed on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/newpathvrinc. We will be using Google Tilt Brush to perform a bodymapping art therapy exercise to express and identify emotions. 

One day, there may be virtual reality software available specifically for certain art therapy exercises, like bodymapping. Sarah Ticho is working on one such application. "Bodymapping has been an undervalued method for exploring human stories for some time, I am excited that say that we are developing a Hatsumi, a body mapping platform with additional features to enhance user experience and provide psychological safety. Hatsumi is receiving additional support from experts in the field of bodymapping and the Stanford Virtual Reality Immersive Technology Lab, where it will undergo early trials with patients at the end of this month. The application is designed for behavioral healthcare providers to integrate into existing therapies, and eventually for public use and academic research exploring the phenomenology of human experience." Presently, Google's Tilt Brush offers a wide variety of brushes and textures to paint and sculpt with for advanced artists and beginners. You can take a look at this month's bodymapping examples created in Tilt Brush on the Facebook timeline facebook.com/lisapadilla.

Speaking out about what mental illness feels like can encourage others to recognize symptoms early on in the disease process, and empower individuals to be agents in their own recovery. “Prevention, early identification, intervention, and integrated services work,” concluded Dr. Michelle Wang, NewPathVR's Chief Psychology Officer, “are all powerful tools in fighting behavioral conditions that affect so many of us. Telling people how life with a mental illness feels helps build support from friends and family, reduces stigma and discrimination, and is crucial to recovery.”

About NewPathVR

NewPathVR is the creator of personal development and emotional intelligence applications in virtual reality. The company uses research-based methods from its proprietary Active PsychologyTM library to create wellness applications for VR with the goal of evoking positive change through conscious technology. We also teach accredited courses in VR Psychology and power the world’s first VR wellness portal — RenewVR.com.

Contact:

Ashild Fossum
Marketing and PR
NewPathVR
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
1390 Market Street #2710
San Francisco, CA 94102

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VR Provides Revolutionary New Therapies for Mental Health

SAN FRANCISCO, April 2, 2018 – The U.S. is not prepared to meet today's mental health patient population demands. There is a behavioral healthcare professional shortage of thousands reported by the Health Resources and Services Administration and clinicians are challenged to meet the 20% Americans who are suffering from mental illness every year according to the National Institute on Mental Illness of which more than half never receive treatment.

NewPathVR is working with the San Francisco Psychological Association to train mental health clinicians on the therapeutic use of virtual reality. "NewPathVR is excited to partner with the San Francisco Psychological Association to advance both our missions to promote and enrich the science and practice of psychology for the health and welfare of the greater public," said Lisa Padilla, CEO of NewPathVR. "As the first partner of choice for the SFPA in the delivery of VR Psychology training, we plan to leverage our expertise and our network to deliver continuing education courses and workshops.

The first courses are being held in San Francisco and will serve the region, with plans to expand nationwide by the end of the year. NewPathVR will offer psychological associations in the SF Bay Area and healthcare institutions VR Psychology courses that teach practical therapeutic applications of VR Psychology, including Advanced VR Psychology, and VR Art Therapy. NewPathVR’s goal is to continue developing protocols and training for the use of VR in clinical settings that align with the ethics and standards of governing bodies such as American Psychological Association.

“We are very pleased for the opportunity to deliver VR Psychology training to licensed clinicians and graduate students in the area of emotional and psychological growth. We’ve been actively pursuing these trainings since the very beginning, almost as soon as we recognized the potential of VR-assisted therapies. To be received with not only open arms but curious hearts and fascinated minds instills us with excitement that professional healers see what we see. It is of the utmost importance that people not suffer needlessly and, though no one tool can be the answer, of course, we believe VR-assisted therapies - when done with intention - can be an affordable and potent tool for both the releasing and reforming of neuropsychological patterns.” said Dr. Michelle Wang, Chief Psychology Officer of NewPathVR.

"I was dazzled by the [course] and awed at the potential of VR for treating psychological suffering. I discovered that some of the potential is already here." said Dr. Bruce F. Pither, past president of the San Francisco Psychological Association. Padilla added, "Joining forces with organizations like the San Francisco Psychological Association to make our training available to more people around the world is essential to our mission and we are excited at the possibilities this collaboration will provide."

There have been 3000 studies over the past 30 years showing positive behavioral changes achieved through the use of virtual reality. Interventions with immersive environments have been created for the relief of stress, anxiety, stress, depression, PTSD, ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer's Disease, and more.

About NewPathVR

NewPathVR is the creator of personal development and emotional intelligence applications in virtual reality. The company uses research-based methods from its proprietary Active PsychologyTM library to create wellness applications for VR with the goal of evoking positive change through conscious technology. We also teach accredited courses in VR Psychology and power the world’s first VR wellness portal — RenewVR.com.

Contact:

Ashild Fossum
Marketing and PR
NewPathVR
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
1390 Market Street #2710
San Francisco, CA 94102

###

winners won

2018 Hackathon Puts Focus On Health Wellness (This event has passed)

2-day Technology-Driven Behavioral Design Summit Hackathon

NewPathVR is produced a VR Wellness Hackathon the third week of February 2018 at Google in San Francisco. We convened a group of interested developers for the 2-day Hackathon, with a real-world mission of “creating life-changing products in the health and wellness arena”. Participants will have a chance to collaborate with diverse teams with projects reviewed by industry leaders and entrepreneurs.

Nice turnout for the NewPathVR's VR Wellness Hackathon today, everyone was here bright and early. With a special guest visit from Joe Connolly from Sketchbox, we kicked off the morning with a wonderful talk from Sarah Hashkes and participants who came from far and wide: Finland, New York, and Maui! People from Berkeley and Stanford are here too! Some great ideas are brewing, Thank you to HTC's VR4Impact for offering a prize for participants! Thank you also to Google for hosting our event!

Winners announced: 1st Place = Where's the Exit by Shashkes Sarit and Neilda Pacquing for Most Impactful Idea and Most Likely to Lead to Sustainable Behavior. They won Priority Application Status for an HTC VR4Impact Grant!

sarah ticoSarah Ticho won Most Financially Viable Idea, Best Mind/Body Connection App, and Best Non-Coded Demo for her idea Hatsumi. Hatsumi in Japanese means "see for the first time" which is very fitting for her app idea for body mapping in which the user outlines their body and then uses colors and symbols to express feelings or trauma.

Rebecca Evans won Most Focused Idea for her idea, Homeless Helper. This idea is an AR app to show when and when excess, free food is available throughout the city.

Sheridan Tatsuno and Janet Maldanodo won Best Utilization of a Third Party Tool or Device for their app idea Body Metrics.

Most Complete Coded Demo went to Dian Soraya Rachmawati and Jerry Isdale for their app I Love You By Self.

charlie wonCharlie Zannorman took both Creative Mention and Most Innovative Idea with his Rift app Whisper Castle.

There was a slack channel developed for those who want to stay in touch and keep projects moving. For hackers only, vrwellnesshackathon.slack.com.

If you would like to collaborate with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and VirtualBytes, please contact us respectively.

Thank you again for participating. We plan to hold this event again in the next couple of months so if you'd like to be part of the planning, demoing etc, stay in touch.

NewPathVR’s Active PsychologyTM

The term ‘psychosocial health’ is defined by the World Health Organization as ‘a state of complete physical mental and social well-being’.

The importance of being mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually sound can be lost as we move through life. In a one-size-fits-all solution, one pill was supposed to solve everything! Now we are all learning to the contrary, and there's plenty of substantive proof that a healthy mind and a peaceful soul are just as important for the prevention of diseases and their treatment. Therefore, this concept of psychosocial health, a state of mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being, deserves a better look.

NewPathVR is developing an “Active PsychologyTM” layer into all of the experiences. Our Active Psychology draws on key research that shows that VR can create environments that change your perspective of — and actions in — the real world. For decades, researchers have applied these tactics within virtual reality environments towards problems like depression, phobias (fear of public speaking, fear of heights), and social disorders, (depression, anxiety, and PTSD) and they’ve treated patients successfully. It's time for disruption in the approach to psychological wellness and new ideas.

NewPathVR has a library of these psychological and psychosocial mechanisms and is combining them with virtual environments to create effectively positive, personal growth experiences that people keep with them as a lasting impression in the real world.

Read our blog

View our recent projects

 

VR and Emotional Development

NewPathVR is a transformative technology company that combines the unprecedented access that VR has to the subconscious with extensive psychological research to create powerful new tools for personal and emotional growth. We are concerned with the power of VR to change perceptions of and behaviors in the real world once you take the headset off and believe that integration is a key part of VR's benefit.

NewPathVR is the creator of personal development and emotional intelligence applications in virtual reality. The company uses research-based methods from its proprietary Active PsychologyTM library to create wellness applications for VR with the goal of evoking positive change through transformative technology. We also power the world’s first VR wellness portal — RenewVR.com.

Shedding fears to meet potential

The concepts of "letting go" and "meeting" are intimately connected. When we properly let go we can properly meet our new potential. Whether that's in a romantic relationship or transition in career or just about any new life challenge. When we learn to properly part with, for example, memories, only when we give it a proper closure does our mind allow for the proper formation of new memories to sprout.

Our immersive experiences are categorized in two forms: letting go and meeting. Letting go experiences can mean letting go of fears and all that is associated with fear: stress, anger, indecision, self-doubt. In other words, all the familiar cycles we find ourselves caught up in time and time again.

Meeting experiences are ones where we meet our new potential. The person we always wanted to be and others would be proud of. Meeting our new potential is essentially meeting a new us, by definition unfamiliar and exciting.

Both experiences are challenging in nature. They require more commitment and emotional investment in the user. They ask for our courage, no matter how small a seed.

NewPathVR creates research-driven experiences to help people effectively make changes in themselves that could help them overcome obstacles, live up to their potential, and have better lives.

Take a closer look at some of the projects we're pursuing today.

Read about our team.

Contact Us

 

building self esteem

Psychosocial health is a combination of psychological, emotional, and social factors. It determines and reflects the way people view themselves and others, and how they deal with problems and stressful situations. Here are just a few traits shared by psychosocially healthy individuals.

Meditation is a several-thousand year old practice for training the mind. Historically a practice reserved for quiet monks, disciplined kung-fu masters, yogis, and ochre-robed swamis, it’s now the preferred performance-enhancing practice of R&B moguls, Super Bowl Champions, Olympic athletes, and A-list celebrities.

Meditation has gone mainstream.

One reason for that is that meditation is generally considered one of the most effective ways to train and focus your attention. And now, science has shown us that the meditative state has extremely positive physiological and neurological effects. What's to come in VR is very exciting. Why? Because meditation goes well beyond stress relief, although in itself, stress relief is a fine goal. Meditation unlocks the subconscious and allows you to tap into all kinds of self-improvement and reprogramming of poor habits and thinking. Here are some research-based findings on meditation.

Embodying Self-Compassion within Virtual Reality and its Effects on Patients with Depression

"By having participants embody an adult and then a child virtual body in succession, our scenario effectively provided a self-to-self situation enabling participants to deliver compassionate sentiments and statements to themselves. Consistent with predictions, this condition resulted in a significantly greater increase in self-compassion..."

British Journal of Psychiatry Open Feb 2016, 2 (1) 74-80; DOI: 10.1192/bjpo.bp.115.002147. Caroline J. Falconer, Aitor Rovira, John A. King, Paul Gilbert, Angus Antley, et al

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