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Retraining the Brain Against Chronic Pain: Karuna Labs Raises $3M for VR Platform


The technology aims to increase range of motion and lessen chronic pain.

The virtual reality (VR) market in healthcare is expected to grow annually by 23.13% over the next six years.

VR tools proved to be useful as an intervention for non-opioid pain management and more accurate than existing cognitive tests in identifying early Alzheimer’s disease, according to some studies.

The latest player: Karuna Labs, a developer of personalized functional restoration and chronic pain management programs using VR to retrain the brain, today announced it raised $3 million in seed funding.

“Karuna Labs is using immersive virtual reality technology to tackle the critical and debilitating health issue of chronic pain, without the need for opioid pain relief or the need for costly invasive surgeries,” said Steve Anderson, MBA, founder of Baseline Ventures, which led the funding.

Anorak Ventures, the AET Fund, the Hustle Fund, Correlation Ventures and Dreamit Ventures were also part of the seed funding.

Founded in 2016, clinicians can use Karuna Pro to treat their patients’ chronic pain. Karuna Pro is used in the clinic and includes modules to help patients learn how their chronic pain works. Karuna’s Virtual Embodiment Training is used to unlearn chronic pain.

Karuna’s technology includes personalized training to increase range of motion through therapeutic exercises. The VR can also help patients decrease anxiety in calming environments, according to Karuna.

“We’re establishing a new first line of defense against chronic pain and remain focused on the lives we’re able to change through our technology while reducing the need for invasive procedures and opioid dependence,” said Lincoln Nguyen, M.S., CEO of Karuna Labs.

Karuna also has Karuna Home, which patients can use at home if they do not want to go to the clinic.

Chronic pain is an area that is ripe to benefit from VR technology, according to some experts.

Like Karuna, XRHealth’s VR platform focuses on helping women experiencing hot flashes or physical discomfort due to menopause or cancer conditions.

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