Patients of Blue Hill Memorial Hospital’s rehabilitation services department are benefitting from an unconventional tool during their occupational therapy appointments. Therapists have recently begun using the Wii, a home video game console released by Nintendo, to help patients strengthen their sensory perception and make gains in other areas such as flexibility and gait. Introduced in 2007, the Wii Fit™ includes exercise activities and games, including yoga, balance and strength training exercises, and aerobic activities.
“While the Wii is a new therapeutic tool for us, its use in medicine has been documented elsewhere,” says Beth Wagstaff, an occupational therapist at the hospital. “In 2010, the American Heart Association (AHA) endorsed the Wii to encourage sedentary people to take the first step toward fitness.” Wagstaff explains that the system has been used to help patients with a number of conditions, including strokes, cerebral palsy, sp