When Nintendo introduced the Wii Balance Board in 2007 for its Wii gaming consoles, nobody realized the treatment potential for vertigo. That quickly changed when researchers and therapists saw the types of games being developed for the board.
People who suffer from vertigo, dizziness or motion sickness often have accompanying balance problems. If your balance is impaired, you may feel like the room is spinning, stagger when you try to walk, or fall when you try to stand up. Other symptoms of balance problems include lightheadedness, blurred vision and confusion.
If you suffer from balance problems, whatever the underlying cause, you may benefit from balance rehabilitation and training. Until recently, therapists trained in balance rehabilitation would likely recommend various head, body and eye exercises to decrease dizziness and nausea, along with exercises to improve your center of gravity.
However, we all know what happens when real life collides with required exercise; it gets harder and harder to stick to the exercise routine.
When Nintendo introduced the Wii Balance Board in 2007 for its Wii gaming consoles, nobody realized the treatment potential. That quickly changed when researchers and therapists saw the types of games being developed for the board.
For people with mild balance problems, therapists are using off-the-shelf Wii games that require balancing maneuvers.
The Nintendo Games site currently lists over 50 games that are compatible with the Balance Board. Of course, not all these games are good for balance rehabilitation. Some recommended off-the-shelf choices are Wii Fit Plus, which has a number of balance games (ski slalom, soccer heading and a challenging table-tilt game), Shaun White Snowboarding and Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll. Your age and underlying health will dictate which games you might like and are the most effective.
Several recent research projects have looked at whether specifically designed balance exercises can be used with the Balance Board to provide better rehab results than off-the-shelf games, particularly for patients with more severe balance problems, such as stroke victims and the elderly.
Results are not definitive, but one particular group is moving forward with a program called WeHab, where therapists can, from their offices, lead patients through normal rehabilitation exercises, performed at home.
This allows for constant data gathering and feedback that they believe will greatly improve outcomes, especially for stroke victims with balance problems along with significant cognitive deficits. Such an application could also prove useful for the elderly, who might struggle with the fast-moving pace of a video game.
Another hidden talent of the Wii Balance Board is that it makes a very good balance assessment system. Researchers compared the Balance Board with a laboratory-grade force platform and found the Balance Board gave valid and reliable test scores on four standing balance tasks.
Medical practitioners can now add this inexpensive, portable, widely available assessment tool to their toolkits for vertigo treatment.
Whether you use a program provided by a therapist and specifically designed for balance rehabilitation, or you use off-the-shelf software, either under the guidance of a therapist or on your own, the fact the games are interactive makes them easy to enjoy and may help you stick to your exercise routine.
Because you receive constant feedback, you can coordinate your vision and balance more quickly.
You also build core strength that will improve your balance. The Wii Balance Board is inexpensive (when compared to other health and fitness devices), fun and can be used in the comfort of your own home.
Hi! I'm the creator of this website. It's the project of my heart. I intend to share what I've learned to bring my own life to balance. I've been educating myself for the past several years in order to understand a bigger picture with research, interviews, and many self-experiments. Dizziness is only a surface symptom of a very complex ocean of underlying imbalances. Causes are always deeply interconnected so we cannot change anything while we view the problem separate from our lifestyle, emotional intelligence, and capacity to remain mentally stable. Yes, we must address physical issue as soon as possible but it is immensely unwise to leave it there. I know that this idea of holistic and inclusive approach might seem incomprehensible for many. But I believe that until we realize and accept that every part of our life is connected to every other part, and to all, we will be chasing our own tail of treating the surface. I hope you found what you've been looking for. If yes, please consider subscribing to our newsletter further down this page. If you haven't found an answer, check out other blog posts here, or leave a comment below.