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Virtual reality helps Pennsylvania patient recover from severe burns

How virtual reality is helping patients in physical therapy
How virtual reality is helping patients in physical therapy 02:16

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. (CBS) -- The world of virtual reality is now being used to help patients in physical therapy.

Emily Dorsheimer was badly burned in a house fire in Coatesville in April. She says learning to move again was a little more interesting and fun with virtual reality.

Her husband, Glen, said the recovery was torturous.

"I thought at one time I was going to plan a funeral," he said. "Thank the lord it didn't happen and she's with me."

A big part of her recovery happened at AristaCare in Plymouth Meeting, where the physical therapy includes a virtual reality system called Real.

Through a headset she sees different scenes, such as a ball game that allows her to work on balance, restoring strength and movement. 

"I couldn't stand, I was too weak to stand on my legs after the fire," Emily Dorsheimer said. "I could not walk, and I could barely speak."  

After months of rehab, it's all come back with the help of the new technology.

Tim Bullis, the director of rehab, says virtual reality includes games as well as real-life situations like bathing and dressing.

"This gives us a lot more variety and variability with our treatments," he said. 

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The virtual reality technology has sensors that go on a patient's knees, chest, waist and hands to monitor their position in space and measure range of motion, he said.  

Emily Dorsheimer says she was surprised at how well the therapy worked.

"I came a long way in a short amount of time," she said.

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