Doctors Use Wii Games For Rehab Therapy

CHICAGO (AP) — It could be called “Wiihabilitation.”

Nintendo’s Wii video game system is now gaining popularity in hospitals and medical centers, which are using the system as part of physical therapy programs for patients.

While traditional physical therapy can be painful, repetitive and boring, hospital officials say playing Wii is more fun for patients, to the point that some almost forget they’re in therapy.

The system’s motion-sensitive controller requires body movements similar to traditional exercises, but officials say the game format makes patients less focused on the movement and more focused on winning.

The most popular Wii games for rehab involve sports, like baseball, bowling, boxing, golf and tennis. Therapists say patients are entertained while improving endurance, strength and coordination.

The therapy has been used on children as well as senior citizens. One patient says learning how to play Wii now gives him something to do with his grandchildren.