[Review] Margaret's Experience with Flowly: Virtual Reality for Pain & Anxiety Management
Can you give us a brief introduction of yourself?
My name is Margaret and I was diagnosed about three years ago with a rare cancer and I've been through surgery, radiation, chemotherapy for about two years. One of my goals just on a day-to-day basis is to try to stay positive and find all the things that I can do.
What drew you to Flowly?
What drew me to Flowly was the comprehensive approach. VR as well as the biofeedback together was something that I thought might really sort of fill the gaps. With the other apps, I've been dependent on listening to the app. I need somebody to talk me through it and when I tried to do that on my own, I just keep going around in circles. With Flowly, I can just close my eyes and I can envision the experience, see the graphs in front of me so I can regulate my breathing, based on that. Being able to understand more about what's happening to my body really allowing me to use a meditation tool through my day-to-day life, not just while I'm sitting there with the the actual experience at the moment.
What is your routine with Flowly?
My routine with Flowly is I want to make sure that I do it every day. I'm working and I'm really busy. I don't have a lot of time but I do have time before I go to bed every night. So I keep it right by my bed. I set everything up just as I'm going to bed. The room is dark and yet I put my my headset on and I feel like I'm in this almost like a fantasy world. I do Wave World the most and I feel like I'm on the beach. I feel like the surf is just coming right up to me. Sometimes the room I do it in is a little bit cool and it sort of feels like the ocean. The coolness of the ocean is on my skin and some of the narrative in Flowly can refer to those things. I watched the breathing and then I find that by the end of Flowly I'm maybe drifting off a little bit, enjoying a little bit, looking around the world. I just appreciate the surf coming in, the music, it also helps to clear my mind. That's one of the key points of the meditation is to just release all the things that you've been thinking about all the little stresses and Flowly really right before I go to bed it just allows me to focus on something. Once I turn that off, my mind is very fresh and it doesn't have a lot of clutter and that also is part of what allows me to sleep better.
What is your favorite part of Flowly?
Flowly almost transports you into another world. Having the time to sit down with
the virtual reality is like the treat. Anytime you just sort of feel a little bit overwhelmed, you can draw on that Flowly toolbox. Just take a minute and just do a little bit of breathing and close your eyes and envision your favorite world for that time.
How has your experience been with Flowly?
My experience with Flowly has been really changed, like almost life-changing. I
don't want to overstate but it really has made a difference in even my feeling every day how I handle things. Being able to do Flowly on a daily basis, you start to feel what it is when you're in that zone, that flow. I think it's called flow state and you start to feel what that is for yourself.
What are some of the things you learned through Flowly?
One of the things we learn about in Flowly is heart rate variability. I can see how that reflects how I'm feeling how am I progressing some kind of tangible feedback on whether or not I'm making any difference trying different ways of breathing different ways to calm my mind and different focuses within the VR experience and then I can see how that reflects itself on the graphs. I know that's teaching me what I'm trying to achieve is trying to get this more even type of flow within the within my heart rates.
Did you have any hesitations with staring Flowly?
I'm kind of mid-tech, not especially high-tech. I wasn't sure whether or not it'd be easy to use whether Flowly was going to be something that was really user-friendly. I found that was absolutely not the case. It was very simple. Flowly was no different than just pushing a few buttons on the phone. Just kind of came together when I saw what the pieces were.
What are your favorite VR worlds in Flowly?
Wave World is the Northern Lights and so it's very calming in the evening. It really sort of settles me and slow down a little bit. Lake World, meadow are more daytime if I have that opportunity to do something in the day I'll pick one of those worlds. I like all the natural sounds. That also helps to create the atmosphere so that when I close my eyes and I am not actually doing Flowly at the moment but I'm just using this as a skill in a tool in another time. I can close my eyes and I can see and hear and and almost feel the different sensations of nature.