Second Life's best days are behind it? Not Medical News Today, which reports that the long-running virtual world from Linden Lab has been successfully used to teach relaxation techniques. Massachusetts General Hospital researchers recently conducted a study that concluded that online worlds like Second Life can be useful in "teaching a mind/body approach that includes the relaxation response."
The study found that by doing away with the limitations of face-to-face meetings (and easing the minds of participants who are uncomfortable in real-world group settings), virtual worlds can foster more relaxing and healthy experiences. The study featured 24 individuals who were divided into three groups and subjected to eight weeks of online sessions in Second Life.
Researchers found that participants "showed reductions in depression- and anxiety-related symptoms," though it's also important to note that participants had prior experiences with virtual worlds.