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As tech companies raise billions of venture capital dollars and completely rebrand to build out elaborate and immersive simulations for gaming, education, and entertainment, the technology is slowly catching on in health care.

Virtual reality companies, bolstered by preliminary data, are clearing early federal regulatory hurdles to use immersive technology to help patients manage conditions like chronic pain and mobility challenges including from neurodegenerative disorders. The idea has a small but growing contingent of clinical champions, doctors and physical behavioral therapists who say the technology lets them gather extensive biometric data about patients’ movements and cognition.

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