More than just play

Nintendo Wii

Using the Nintendo Wii to Help Physical Therapy Patients

Patients working to improve core strength, sharpen sports specific skills and correct the negative effects of poor posture and diminished balance have a new innovation available to them in the clinic.

You may have seen the Wii gaming system in popular literature and news media, used to help with physical rehabilitation. Recently, a case study about the benefits of using the Wii for a young patient with cerebral palsy was published in the October issue of the American Physical Therapy Associations journal Physical Therapy .

At Encore, we’re encouraging use of Wii activities to improve patient awareness of balance and movement.

“I experienced firsthand the challenges of the Wii Fit program – while enduring peals of laughter from my young niece and nephew!” said Frank Hann, DPT of Encore Physical Therapy.

According to Frank, the system analyzes your ability to perform movements while maintaining your balance and centering your weight evenly on the platform.

“The analysis of your functional age vs. chronological age can be startling,” he said.

The adaptation of activities and equipment normally associated with playtime is not a new phenomenon. In the 1960s, an Italian toy manufacturer introduced a large vinyl ball that became known as the Swiss Ball after physiotherapists in Sweden used it for pediatric rehabilitation. The Swiss ball was also successful when utilized for patients with neurological conditions and injuries and is now a standard tool used in exercise programs to develop core muscle strength.

Remember the old adage, “Use it or lose it?” As we age there are certainly physiological changes that occur, but tools like the Wii can help. Call Chris or Frank today to schedule an evaluation and see how learning to “play” can improve your movement and balance.