Nintendo Wii - Just What The Doctor Ordered?

By: Karenbennett
Since its release, the runaway success of the Nintendo Wii console seems to be evolving into a therapeutic tool as widespread reports claim that it is now being used in rehabilitation centres. Victims of stroke, spinal cord injuries and others have been benefiting from the Wii Sports games to help them recover and regain balance, co-ordination, strength and motion. In addition to traditional methods of exercising patients back to health, the Wii has proven to make the rehabilitation process more enjoyable and engaging, thus alleviating some of the monotony and boredom of the recovery process.

One patient, an ex boxer, now plays virtual boxing since he suffered a stroke after a blow to the head during a match that left him in a wheelchair with little movement in his left arm and slower speech. The Wii sports games have helped him and others like him progress from their wheelchairs to being able to stand up and swing a virtual golf club, throw a virtual bowling ball and knock out a virtual opponent in the Wii boxing game.

Another man, a semi-pro tennis player who had also suffered a stroke has been using the Wii console to play the virtual tennis game and claims that the Wii has enabled him to regain his balance and the use of his arms.

Senior citizens in nursing homes are even using the Wii console for entertainment purposes which also helps to keep their bodies active and their minds sharp as well as speeding up reactions. An 82 year old lady who used to have fun playing tennis at school as a young girl, challenged the Wii to a game of tennis and said that it reminded her of the feeling she had years ago.

It is also reported that American soldiers have embraced the technology of the Wii, testing it out on injured soldiers to help them regain their strength.

The fact that the Nintendo Wii console has been used so effectively for medical purposes would suggest that this kind of technology could be developed further to aid physical therapy in the future.

Unlike other video games consoles, which have had some bad publicity regarding the lack of activity of the children playing them, the Nintendo Wii has had a much more positive response. Gameplay encourages not only activity but also socialisation amongst friends and family members.

Video games consoles have never attracted such a wide and diverse audience as the Nintendo Wii console. The appeal of this new innovative console offers more than just gameplay. Nintendo’s brilliant use of technology is getting great praise for getting people moving again from young children to senior citizens and rehabilitation patients – the success stories never cease to amaze us.
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