Web3 Wellness: 5 Ways Web3 Will Help You Live a Healthier Life
By Lauren Tierney, Venture Investor, Decasonic
The intersection of web3 and wellness presents an exciting opportunity for innovation and investment, especially given today’s challenges facing human health and wellness globally. From the growing obesity epidemic to the skyrocketing healthcare costs, the need for effective and accessible wellness solutions has never been more urgent.
In this article, I will explore how web3 can be harnessed to promote wellness across a range of areas, including fitness, healthcare, mental health, and physical and neurological well-being. By leveraging the power of blockchain, AR/VR, and the metaverse, we can create a world that is not only more connected but also more health-conscious.
While some individuals may view web3 and immersive technologies as contributing to a world that is more hyper-connected and technology-addicted, I propose that web3 can lead to a healthier world. In fact, the potential for web3 lies in enabling a healthier human experience with technology, aligning incentives with our favorite brands, and providing greater ownership and autonomy over our data.
As web3 promises a brighter future for the internet, I believe it can enable individuals to lead healthier lives. So, what are some examples of use cases for web3 to enhance wellness experiences? Here are five possibilities:
1. AR/VR for Fitness: Despite overwhelming evidence and a general understanding that exercise is important to overall health, recent studies show 44% of inactive people don’t exercise because they think it’s not fun. Although the pandemic led to many people becoming more sedentary than ever it also resulted in the digital fitness industry growing by 77% since 2019, now the fastest-growing market in the fitness industry.
In a survey conducted in February of 2022, 56% of people said they preferred at-home workouts over going to a gym post-pandemic. In 2023 the consumer is more health-conscious than ever and fitness continues to be a fast-growing trend. It is projected that between now and 2028 the fitness industry will grow 172% to $434.74 billion.
This data was supported in 2021 when Meta (the global leader in the VR industry) bought Within, the creators of the Supernatural VR fitness app that has seen great success and adoption in its first few years in existence. If working out looked like climbing a mountain to win a prize at the top, walking the plank on a pirate ship, or fighting off ninjas in a virtual world, then chances are it would be easier for humans to maintain a workout routine and a healthy lifestyle.
The gamification of fitness will use blockchain-enabled metaverses to create new opportunities for fitness and incentivize people to be more active. Blockchain-based fitness apps can allow users to earn cryptocurrency or other digital rewards for reaching fitness goals. And AR/VR workout classes or games will save the consumer substantial time and money by being able to work out from home and still get an experience that has the same results as taking a class at a gym.
To most, fitness feels like work, but it no longer has to do with immersive web3 technology. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are being brought to market to enable the consumer to work out at home, in a way that feels so playful and immersive that it may not even feel like working out. VR Fitness powered by blockchain can create more accessible, personalized, and engaging experiences which will help to drive increased participation in physical activity and improved health outcomes.
AR/VR Fitness Companies
2. AR/VR for Mental Health & Mindfulness: Virtual reality (VR) technology has found a promising application in the field of mental health. By creating sensory-rich and immersive environments, VR can offer effective therapy and stress release for users by providing a safe space to release tension, anxiety, and other heavy sensations. These experiences can transport consumers to peaceful and calming environments, guide them through meditation and breathing techniques, and provide real-time feedback on their progress.
One example of this is Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT), which customizes environments to help patients confront their fears and promote healing. Research has shown that VR can be an effective tool for treating various types of trauma, including PTSD in veterans. In a recent study, researchers examined how VR technology in head-mounted displays can be used to treat anxiety, specifically through virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET). The study analyzed 28 studies that used VR to treat different anxiety disorders and found that it can be an effective tool for occupational therapy practitioners to simulate environments and evaluate client responses to fearful stimuli, helping to remediate anxiety through immersion in virtual tasks when natural contexts are not feasible.
By offering a powerful tool to create immersive meditation experiences, AR/VR can promote relaxation, stress relief, and mental wellness. As studies suggest, virtual reality may help rewire the brain and promote healthier pathways that foster resilience, relaxation, recovery, and results. As technology continues to evolve, AR/VR holds great promise for transforming mental healthcare and providing more accessible and effective treatments for those in need.
AR/VR Mental Health & Mindfulness applications
3. AR/VR Physical Therapy: The field of physical therapy is experiencing a technological breakthrough with the use of AR/VR technology. AR/VR is increasingly being utilized to support the rehabilitation of individuals with neurological disorders. This innovative technology creates immersive and interactive environments that allow patients to improve their motor skills, balance, and coordination.
The results of a recent study on physical rehabilitation for stroke survivors demonstrated that 95% of patients recovered faster through AR/VR therapy compared to traditional rehabilitation methods. Moreover, AR/VR therapy can be conducted remotely, enabling patients to recover in the comfort of their homes, which significantly reduces the cost associated with in-person physical therapy or rehabilitation centers.
The effectiveness of this therapy has been well-established, but its convenience and ability to track data in real-time is equally impressive. With AR/VR physical therapy, patients can receive treatment from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming trips to rehabilitation centers. Additionally, this technology provides an opportunity for doctors to track patients' progress and adjust the therapy accordingly. This is particularly useful for patients with chronic conditions, as doctors can monitor their progress over time and tailor the therapy to their specific needs.
The use of AR/VR in physical therapy also empowers patients to regain their independence and enhance their overall quality of life. As technology continues to evolve and become more accessible, AR/VR is poised to revolutionize physical therapy and offer promising solutions for individuals with neurological disorders.
4. Blockchain-powered “Move to Earn” Fitness Tracking: The wellness industry has seen an innovative use of web3 technology in the form of "Move to Earn" fitness tracking, where users can earn cryptocurrency or digital assets by completing physical activities like running, walking, or cycling. The advent of these games has incentivized people to stay active and engaged in the crypto ecosystem, while also improving their physical well-being.
The growing popularity of move-to-earn games in the wellness industry is timely, especially as the global fitness tracker market is expected to experience significant growth. According to market research, the global fitness tracker market is projected to increase from $36.34 billion in 2020 to $114.36 billion in 2028, at a CAGR of 15.4% during the forecast period. With such substantial growth, it's clear that people are increasingly prioritizing their health and fitness, and move-to-earn games could play a pivotal role in incentivizing and encouraging this trend.
By leveraging blockchain technology, these games ensure the accurate tracking and verification of physical activities and the transparent distribution of rewards. As such, the potential of move-to-earn games in promoting physical activity and wellness, while also engaging with the crypto ecosystem, is immense.
5. Blockchain for Healthcare Records: The healthcare system is diverse and fragmented, And so is our healthcare data. It is common for us to go to the doctor and fill out a form with the same set of questions every single time. Not only is this time-consuming, but it often leads to inaccuracy that can lead to health complications.
A study conducted by PEW showed that 81% of adults say they support increased access to their healthcare records, and two-thirds, want their clinicians to exchange some health information that federal data-sharing policies don’t currently require, such as advanced care plans or end-of-life preferences, images (such as X-rays), and family medical histories. Fragmented healthcare recordkeeping not only wastes our time and risks jeopardizing our health, but also forgoes us the financial opportunity to centralize, monetize, and profit from our data.
Blockchain technology can be used to securely store and manage healthcare records. Using a decentralized network, medical records can be stored securely and shared between authorized parties without compromising the patient's privacy. This can eliminate many of the challenges and inefficiencies associated with current healthcare record-keeping systems, such as lost or incomplete records, and improve the overall quality of care.
An application that uses blockchain to track healthcare records would enhance patient care and give patients access to their health data through a secure, decentralized platform, making it easier for them to track and manage their health data and make more informed decisions about their care.
Blockchain for healthcare records businesses
As illustrated in this article, web3 technology holds tremendous potential in improving the overall well-being of individuals. By incentivizing and rewarding healthy behavior, creating immersive and interactive environments for fitness or physical therapy, and providing accessible and affordable mental health solutions, web3 can enable us to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. As we continue to explore and innovate in this space, I am excited to see the many ways in which web3 will transform healthcare and wellness.
As a passionate exercise enthusiast and early-stage venture investor at Decasonic, I am committed to supporting and investing in initiatives that leverage web3 technology to build a healthier future. If you're building in this space, I encourage you to reach out and connect. Let's work together to make the world a healthier place!