Virtual reality isn鈥檛 just exciting for gamers anymore. As the technology聽develops, some pretty practical new uses are popping up. Whether it鈥檚聽spicing up a date night, redecorating your apartment, or virtually shopping at the supermarket, VR technology can help out in a lot of everyday situations. But developers聽are also finding ways it can solve聽some deeper problems too, like treating depression. And now, researchers are looking into how VR could potentially help people with聽body image issues.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Westfield introduces world first Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headsets ahead of 'Future Fashion' an immersive pop-up experience at Westfield London on March 12, 2015 in London, England. Future Fashion will take place at Westfield London from 27-29 March and Westfield Stratford City from 2-4 April. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Westfield)

Researchers from the US, Belgium and Italy co-wrote an article聽published in聽Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking聽about this exciting new potential and the research that鈥檚 already been conducted in the field.聽鈥淭he main problem facing therapists when treating body image disturbances is perhaps the lack of awareness that patients show about the real state of their bodies,鈥 the authors write in the article. In other words, people suffering from eating disorders very often see their bodies as larger than they actually are.

That鈥檚 where virtual reality can come in, they say. In one study cited by the authors, a body-image therapist had her clients聽use virtual reality technology to manipulate a body shape into how they viewed their own bodies. The idea was that therapists can use the technology to assess how exactly their clients see themselves 鈥 and then work toward helping them see themselves more accurately.

Virtual reality聽can actually be used in cognitive behavioral therapy too. If someone suffering from an eating disorder or body image issue can see the difference between their perceived and actual body sizes in a very (virtually) real way, they might start to understand that their harsh views of their own bodies aren鈥檛 actually based in reality. In a few of the聽studies in the article, clients who tested out this method saw significant聽improvement.

Virtual reality as body image therapy is definitely still a new field, but judging from this article, it鈥檚 pretty promising. Seriously, what聽can鈥檛聽virtual reality do?

Would you try virtual reality to help with body image issues? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo!

(Image via Tim P. Whitby/Getty)