Measuring the effect of Ayatana, a virtual reality mental break module


Virtual reality (VR) is a technology whose field of application includes relaxation. Most often, it is about meditation, breathing, sophrology exercises, etc., offered in environments representing natural landscapes. Several studies have noted good acceptability of these solutions for both relaxation experts and novices (Navarro-Haro et al., 2017; Riches et al., 2021). Some regenerative effects of mental resources, such as reduced anxiety, improved subjective vitality or affect, have also been observed amongst users (Mattila et al., 2020; Reese et al., 2022; Tarrant et al., 2018).

It is interesting to note, moreover, that while natural landscapes allow for a restoration of focus (Dodeler, 2021; Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989; Kaplan, 1995; Kaplan & Berman, 2010), their representation in virtual reality possesses much the same restorative properties (Chirico & Gaggioli, 2019; Mattila et al., 2020; Reese et al., 2022).

Similar mental resource regeneration effects are observed during relaxation exercises performed under comparable conditions, whether in a physical or virtual setting (Naylor et al., 2019).

The added value offered by VR relaxation applications stems from their immersive effect which allows users to cut themselves off from their real environment (Naylor et al., 2019; Slater & Wilbur, 1997; Straßmann et al. 2019) to fully engage in relaxation exercises regardless of their physical surroundings. This can give individuals experiencing VR immersion a sense of being elsewhere, traveling in their virtual environment (Slater & Wilbur, 1997).

VR therefore allows its users to extract themselves from their immediate physical environment and dive into a virtual world through immersion. In a professional setting, this property can help overcome a number of challenges. Indeed, the majority of workplaces do not have access to green spaces allowing employees to take a walk/recover. It is also not easy to practice a meditation exercise or simply to take a real mental break in the workplace because of the multiple and constant stimuli generated by the professional environment. Several studies thus suggest that VR applied to relaxation can offer a stress management solution in the workplace (Adhyaru et al. management of stress in the workplace (Adhyaru et al., 2020; Bodet-Constantin et al., 2022; Michael et al., 2019; Naylor et al., 2020).

Ayatana is a virtual reality relaxation tool developed by 6th Sense VR, a start-up based in Rennes. It offers its users a restorative mental break through virtual reality experiences lasting around 15 minutes each. These immersive experiences offer relaxation exercises in imaginary environments whose goal is to immerse users in an environment where they feel safe. A study was conducted to measure the restorative effects of these experiences on the users’ mood and mental resources.


This study was conducted over several months during the first half of 2022 with 105 male and female users from the service, academic, and medical sectors. A four-item questionnaire was inserted into the module to measure users’ mental resources and mood before and after the experience.

The questionnaire was taken from the Restoration Outcome Scale (ROS, Korpela et al., 2008). This scale has been used by several researchers who have studied the effects of restoration of mental resources via VR modules (e.g., Mattila et al., 2020; Reese et al., 2022). We extracted three items: “I feel refreshed and relaxed”, “I have enthusiasm and energy for my daily activities”, and “I feel focused and alert”. We have added a mood barometer to take this dimension into account: “How do you feel right now? These four questions were measured from 1 to 10 and we calculated the average of the answers to obtain a mood score.


The mean mood score was higher after the user completed the Ayatana experience (M = 7.52, SD = 1.36) than before (M = 5.86, SD = 1.44). This difference, shown in the graph below, is significant, t(104) = 15.14, p < .001. These results reflect a tangible effect of the mental break provided by Ayatana on users’ mood. The improvement in well-being that we observed is therefore not due to chance: Ayatana does indeed have a restorative effect on the mood and mental resources of the users in our sample.


Ayatana is a virtual reality relaxation tool developed by 6th Sense VR in order to allow companies to offer their employees a mental break. This module offers exercises of cardiac coherence, sophrology and meditation in an environment imagined and designed to immerse users in a universe stimulating their sensory perception in a serene state of mind.

Each session, lasting about 15 minutes, helps users to manage their emotions and their individual stress.

A study was conducted on a sample of 105 users during the first half of 2022 with a view to measuring the effects of Ayatana.

The results of this study show a significant restoration of the participants’ mood and mental resources after a session.

Ayatana therefore does seem to be an appropriate tool to offer a mental break in a professional context.


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