Using Video Games as Parkinson’s Therapy

Video games aren’t just for kids anymore. Movement heavy game systems, like the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 360 Kinect, are the newest therapy treatment for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. But how do you go from bopping bad guys to therapy? Well…

The Wii is the first game system designed to make you move. With a movement sensitive remote control and active games, it can do almost anything. Additional parts, like a balance board and even a ‘skateboard’ can help PD sufferers with essential balance therapy.

The Xbox Kinect system is a good match for therapy for several reasons. It does not require the use of a remote, which is great news for those with trouble gripping. Instead, the Kinect uses your body as the remote, reading your movements and translating them onto the game screen.

But why go to all this effort? What’s wrong with traditional physical therapy? Well, for some it is simply too expensive. In this economy, with all the insurance issues, some people cannot afford traditional therapy. At least not as often as they need it. Also, transportation is an issue for some patients. So, why not offer a solution that they can do right in their own home.

Not only do video games allow patients to get therapy in their homes whenever they want, the games also encourage them to do more therapy then they would normally. Incentives such as points, stars, and levels help patients see what they are accomplishing, and the extended range of motion comes along with the added points.

At the University of California, researchers noted these improvements in the participants of their study. After 12 weeks of exercising with the assistance of video games, patients reported gains across several ranges of mobility:

  • 65% had longer strides
  • 55% had increased gait velocity
  • 55% reported improved balance

Patients also reported that they completed the exercises more frequently because they enjoyed the activities and perceived improvements to their health.

“The games require visual perception, eye-hand coordination, figure-ground relationships and sequenced movement, so it’s a huge treatment tool from an occupational therapy perspective,” says Dr. Herz, of the Medical College of Georgia.

The mental stimulation of video games cannot be ignored either.

Author and game designer Jane McGonigal believes that video games offer many benefits. She believes that “gaming is…one of the most productive ways we can spend time.” Her 2011 book “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” declares that games do a better job of provoking positive emotions, leading to achievement and positive reinforcement. McGonigal goes so far to prescribe an hour of gaming per day.

Keeping your mind and body active are the major obstacles confronting movement disorder sufferers. Video games might just offer a solution for that.

 

About the Author:

Kate Croston is a freelance writer, holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She writes guest posts for different sites and loves contributing business internet service related topics. Questions or comments can be sent to: katecroston.croston09@gmail.com.

 

Cycling away Parkinson’s tremors

Theracycle 200

If you or someone you love has Parkinson’s disease, I hope you’ve read our
eBook A New Therapy Brings Hope & Results to People with Parkinson’s Disease.

As a follow-on to that hopeful eBook, in February, we posted the first (of several to follow) personal accounts of people living with Parkinson’s Disease — the story of Dave Davenport.

Dave’s story and those of five others who’ve been riding a Theracycle and seeking substantial reductions in their PD symptoms are included in our newest eBook titled “First-person accounts of people now living better with Parkinson’s disease.”

If you’re interested in getting a copy of our “Living better with Parkinson’s disease” eBook, send me an email and I’ll be happy to send you one: pr@exercycle.com

From that eBook, here’s a first-person account from Deb Snow of Wisconsin, who was diagnosed with PD 5 years ago, but who tells us riding her Theracycle has helped her to “do everything I used to do.”

Read on for Deb’s story…

Continue reading

Tai Chi for Parkinson’s Disease

Discontent with drug treatments and Deep Brain Stimulation approaches, many people living with Parkinson’s disease are exploring and pursuing a wide range of therapies to improve their symptoms.

While The Theracycle Blog has extensively detailed how a “Forced Exercise” regimen of riding a Theracycle has benefited PD patients, worldwide—we think it’s important for our blog to cover other alternative therapies…

Dr. Patrick Massey, MD, PhD— an Illinois-based physician is a practitioner of advanced medical and physical therapies that combine what he describes as “the best of traditional and non-traditional medicine.”

Medical director of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network, Dr. Massey runs ALT-MED, a helpful website with a patient-focused approach with useful information and resources.

Here’s a recent article from Dr. Massey with his professional opinion on how “Parkinson’s patients could benefit from tai chi”…

Continue reading

Life, Love, Relationships + Parkinson’s Disease

Kim & Rich Rosek

This week (first week of March 2012), Kim and Rich Rozek — the husband/wife team behind PD Talk Live!— are debuting a new weekly reality podcast on living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD):

Drawing on their experiences (since Rich was diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s circa 10 years ago,) the “Life, Love, Relationships and Parkinson’s” podcasts will give the couple’s personal perspective on living a high quality life and maintaining a successful marriage as they’ve navigated their family’s PD voyage.

Since Kim and Rich have “been there, done that,” they’re uniquely qualified to provide insights worth hearing.

To hear the podcasts and learn more about/and from Kim & Rich visit their Parkinsons.me website. Be sure to follow Rich on Twitter: @pdtalker.

Given that people are riding Theracycles across the country to alleviate their Parkinson’s symptoms, we look forward to listening!