Monday, February 23, 2009

Following Stroke, The Wii Encourages Bilateral Upper Extremity Use

Using  Wiihab encourages many responses.  Often occupational and physical therapists are challenged to  find therapeutic activities to elicit one desired response,  bilateral upper extremity use.   Those recovering from stroke may find using the involved extremity uncomfortable and challenging because of muscle weakness, increased or decreased muscle tone, poor sensation, or loss of position sense (proprioception).   Boxing in Wii Sports, especially, offers an opportunity to use both upper extremities reciprocally and spontaneously.   Boxing in virtual reality creates a need to make alternating movements with the arms to protect yourself from punches or to knock out your opponent.  If the participant's bilateral cordination is sluggish, their opponent will punch them.  Many will work hard to avoid that!  All of the Wii games promote therapeutic movement and many news reports explain the value patients find in using games as therapy.  

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