Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Virtual reality applied to physiotherapy: a review of current knowledge

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Virtual Reality Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Technological innovations have enabled physiotherapy to apply new possibilities in the rehabilitation of patients, especially in the use of virtual reality (VR). Although the literature provides several examples of VR applications, benefits, and barriers in physiotherapy, scholars obverse that there is still a dearth of studies that discuss and unify the results and impacts of this emerging technology on patients and physiotherapists. Thus, the aim of this study is to analyze the use of VR within physiotherapy and its impact on rehabilitation outcomes. A systematic literature review based on the PRISMA protocol was applied in this study. After searching on databases, such as Bireme, Cochrane, Emerald, Google Scholar, Lilacs, Medline, PEDro, PubMed, and Science Direct, we found 152 articles that complied with our protocol. The initial period of the search was open up to June 2020. Our results show an increased use of VR in neurology with elderly patients. We have identified underlying barriers (issues implementing VR, lack of protocols, and influence of patients) and benefits (effectiveness of treatment, motor development, and patient independence) of VR implementation. Finally, our study provides implications for VR in physiotherapy: a prominent increase in the use of VR in rehabilitation; value co-creation: interactions between patients and physiotherapists are crucial in the use of VR in physiotherapy; barriers related to technology, applicability, and the patient’s influence need to be overcome for VR practice to be used as a ‘business as usual’ modality in physiotherapy; the benefits of VR treatment can overcome the barriers faced by its use in rehabilitation.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Similar content being viewed by others

References

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Biomedical Engineering Postgraduate Research Programme of the Federal University of Technology of Paraná—their support has been invaluable in putting this theme together. Furthermore, this study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—Brasil (CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel))—Finance Code 001.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Polyana Cristina Alves Brepohl.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

We have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Brepohl, P.C.A., Leite, H. Virtual reality applied to physiotherapy: a review of current knowledge. Virtual Reality 27, 71–95 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-022-00654-2

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10055-022-00654-2

Keywords

Navigation