No pain no game

A study has shown how virtual reality can distract children from the discomfort of medical injections. Could something similar be introduced for adults when they find themselves in painful or distressing situations?

PETER EDGERTON / WWW.E-PETER.COM

A scientific study currently being undertaken across a number of city hospitals, including one in Malaga, is looking at how virtual reality can distract children from the pain, stress and discomfort of medical injections. This a wonderful idea. In fact, I can't see any reason not to introduce something similar for adults when they find themselves in painful or distressing situations.

Whenever a visit to the in-laws is unavoidable, despairing wives/husbands can whip out their virtual headset and play tennis against Rafa Nadal or something, distracting them from the passive aggressive remarks emanating from across the table.

Of course, it would be handy if virtual reality headsets weren't the size of a small republic but surely, they'll soon be incorporated into a standard pair of spectacles.

"I didn't know you were short-sighted, John, and weren't you going to paint that fence?"

"Astigmatism, Mrs Mother-In-Law. Fifteen-love. Your serve, Rafa."

Opening the electricity bill while being virtually distracted would also be a sure-fire winner for any sentient soul these days. You could be tearing open the envelope and staring at a thirty-five-figure sum one minute and, at the flick of a switch, swimming with dolphins the next, although in my case I might find the dolphins more stressful than the bankruptcy. Still, we can each choose our own balm for the soul.

Football fans could go to cup finals and, if things were looking bleak, they could turn on their headsets in order to be able not only to watch an alternative match that they're winning, but also to actually participate in it. While their fellow supporters are weeping tears of desperate sorrow, the savvy fan will be singing Allez Allez Allez (which seems to be the only song any football supporters sing these days) and celebrating scoring the winner by embracing his favourite spoilt multi-millionaire with tattoos.

More painful situations with a virtual solution? Stubbing your toe on the bedstead. This is universally recognised as one of the most disproportionately painful experiences known to man. But not if you keep a handy virtual headset on the bedside table. Whip it on, and before you know it, your toe is right as rain and you're sipping cocktails on a Caribbean beach with Gal Gadot, or a tattooed dolphin or something.

Anyway, it's quite clear, that are so many distressing and painful situations which can be eased by the application of a little virtual reality. Except having to look at photos of plates of other people's food on social media - because that is virtual reality. Frankly, you're be better off at your in-laws.