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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Nintendo Wii becoming popular among physical therapists in the USA

Nintendo Wii is not just popular among gamers but among physical therapists as well. Due its exclusive interactive nature, now days, physical therapy centers in the USA are increasingly using Nintendo Wii gaming consoles to make the physical therapies enjoyable, especially, to the children and teenagers. The North Texas Rehabilitation Center recently started to use the gaming console into its physical therapy programs. Susan Knowles Martin, Director of Marketing and Development, The North Texas Rehabilitation Center, said that it gets the patients moving and the interactive nature do not let them realize that they are undergoing therapy. Since a large number of the patients are children, the Wii has made the therapy sessions more fun for them. Chron.com reports:

"It's perfect for a facility like this. Half of our clients are kids from 3 years old all the way up to teenagers," she said.

The trick is in the motion. The Wii Fit uses a unique platform called the Wii Balance Board that can measure a user's weight and center of gravity. The game has about 40 different activities, which include yoga, aerobics and various balance games which have allowed the therapists to target specific areas of concern.

"It's a way to measure their progress," said Lesa Enlow, director of programs, who was showing the game off to a group of students from Archer City High School visiting the facility.

"This balance stuff is hard," said one of the students as he stood on his toes while attempting a high jump in the ski-jumping module of Wii Fit.

Enlow sees the Wii as a training tool that can adapt to the needs of their clients as well.

The Wii can be modified according to the needs of the children who are physically challenged. The Wii wireless controller can also be used as a handheld pointing device as it can detect acceleration and orientation in three dimensions. This allows therapists to use the controller to measure various types of movements.

The magazine article also said that rehabilitation clinics around the country are also using Wii fitness package for improving weight bearing and balance among patients who just underwent total knee replacement or back surgery.

Related articles:
Chron.com

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