What is exactly ISLA CALMA and which are the foundations of its research?
For more than a decade, distraction techniques have been investigated and successfully applied in clinical practice in order to reduce pain or anxiety associated to specific medical procedures, and its application is based on the assumption that pain perception has a significant psychological component in which quality of attention directed to the unpleasant stimulus modulates pain perception.
We have the ability to distract from pain as we have limited information processing abilities for sensory and sensitive information we received in a particular moment. If other types of information modalities different from pain increase and compete against it, they may reach to exclude it.
The most accepted pain definition nowadays was formulated by the World Wide Association for the Study of Pain (IASP): “it is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with a real or potential tissue damage, or described in terms associated to that type of damage”.
The majority of studies agree that it is possible to distract from pain, from pain anticipation, from the anxiety due to pain anticipation or from fear to feel pain. This is what it is the most important issue within these experiences. Distracting from what is going on around is not a cure for anxiety, but will provide a transitory relief.
The primary goal of this cognitive technique consists on withdrawing attention from the pain or anxiety source in order to direct and focus the attention to a different source of stimulation.
Malloy KM, Milling LS. The effectiveness of virtual reality distraction for pain reduction: a systematic reviewDepartment of Psychology, University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117, USA. Clin Psychol Rev. 2010 Dec;30(8):1011-8. Epub 2010 Jul 13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20691523
Hoffman HG, Patterson DR, Carrougher GJ, Sharar SR. Effectiveness of virtual reality-based pain control with multiple treatments. Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA. Clin J Pain. 2001 Sep;17(3):229-35. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11587113
Hoffman HG, Garcia-Palacios A, Patterson DR, Jensen M, Furness T 3rd, Ammons WF Jr. The effectiveness of virtual reality for dental pain control: a case study. Human Interface Technology Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2001 Aug;4(4):527-35.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11708732
J. Miró, R. Nieto, A. Huguet. Realidad virtual y manejo del dolor. Medicina psicosomática y psiquiatría de enlace. C. Med. Psicosom, Nº 82 – 2007http://www.editorialmedica.com/archivos/cuadernos/Cuad%20N%C2%BA%2082%20trabajo%204.pdf
1 Study performed in a dental clinic, randomized and with 2 groups, 1 experimental vs 1 control group (n= 59). You may download it pressing here (PDF 0,7MB)