Video games come in many different forms, genres, styles, and even applications. If you think about the plethora of gaming consoles available on the market today, you could count on all of your fingers and toes and there would still be consoles left unnamed. Counting up the different gaming systems is great and all but that pales in comparison to the vast amount of game genres, and even games themselves available to play. But what if you weren’t playing games just to play them?
In the world of technology and technological advancements, video games have recently come into the scene as a means of treatment, more specifically, a medium patients can use for rehabilitation. According to “Video Games and Rehabilitation”, research suggests that video games are beneficial for cognitive and motor skill learning. How might one use video games to help aid in rehabilitation treatment? There have been a few studies that use different games, as well as different gaming consoles to conduct research.
VR, also known as virtual reality, is a 3D simulated environment that the user can access, view, and interact with through the use of a specific helmet and goggles. Patients who use VR in rehabilitation, are able to engage in motor and cognitive activities to help improve those skills. “Video Games and Rehabilitation” describes in which VR has been tested and used in treatment. Patients play a game akin to baseball, where they are able to engage their shoulders and elbows while playing the game. Using this game has led to improved performance and are able to have better retention.
Another study that uses VR in rehabilitation is discussed in “The Utility of a Video Game System in Rehabilitation of Burn and Non-burn Patients”. According to the journal, the immersive VR experience has been used as a tool of distraction in providing pain relief during painful procedures. Video games are able to encourage range of motion for the patients, while also providing a distraction from any potential pain.
While VR is able to coincide with rehabilitation, it is not the only way video games are used as a means of treatment. One gaming system in particular that is mentioned by name is the Nintendo Wii Fit. The Wii Fit offers a multitude of aerobic exercises and games for individuals to play. “Video Games and Rehabilitation” noted that the enjoyment scores for the Wii Fit were higher than treadmill walking or hand-held games.
Overall, video games have had a positive impact on those who have used them for rehabilitation. Video games are able to increase motivation and engagement from patients allowing them to achieve treatment goals; whether this includes joint mobility, cognitive functions, motor functions, or even helping in concentration. While there is still a lot to learn and discover concerning the use of video games in rehabilitation, the outcomes granted from it so far have been positive.
Fung, Vera, et al. “The utility of a video game system in rehabilitation of burn and Nonburn Patients: A survey among occupational therapy and Physiotherapy Practitioners.” Journal of Burn Care & Research, vol. 31, no. 5, 1 Sept. 2010, pp. 768–775, https://doi.org/10.1097/bcr.0b013e3181eed23c.
Sheldon, Robert. “What Is Virtual Reality?” WhatIs.Com, TechTarget, 3 Aug. 2022, www.techtarget.com/whatis/definition/virtual-reality.
(K.R.L., School of Kinesiology. “Video Games and Rehabilitation: Using Design Principles to... : Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy.” LWW, Dec. 2013, journals.lww.com/jnpt/Fulltext/2013/12000/Video_Games_and_Rehabilitation__Using_Design.4.aspx.