50 Awesome Video Games for Physical Therapy and Rehab

Physical therapy and rehab is undoubtedly an important part of recovery for many victims of physical and emotional tragedy. Of course, finding the motivation to start and keep at it is difficult. Using video games, researchers and medical professionals (CNA’s, physical therapists, etc) have found that they can push patients harder, and help them enjoy therapy more. Here, we’ll take a look at 50 games that will do just that.

Researched Creations

Often serving a specific purpose, these games were created by research teams.

  1. Stroke Rehabilitation: Researchers at Rutgers have a video game that helps with stroke rehabilitation, modified from the XBox console.
  2. Therapy Tiles: Henrik Hautop Lund’s creation is a game that’s a lot like Dance Dance Revolution, and allows patients to step on tiles that give them feedback.
  3. CyberLearning Technology: Patients can improve their neurofeedback using video games, including car racing.
  4. Walking Improvement: Kari Dunning’s creation helps stroke victims improve their ability to walk.
  5. Cerebral Palsy Paralysis: Students at the University of Toronto have created a game that encourages children with cerebral palsy to use their weaker side more effectively.
  6. Gamewheels: Gamewheels is an interactive video game system for patients with spinal cord injuries. The system makes it possible for wheelchair users to play physically active games.
  7. Spinal Cord and Brain Injuries: Using a flexible pressure mat, patients who suffer from brain and spinal cord injuries can improve their dynamic short-sitting balance.
  8. Arm and hand therapy: Doctors at the Northern Arm & Hand Center make use of 10 different computer games, including video soccer and downhill skiing for rehab.

Console Games

Using the popular Wii, Play Station, and more, you can encourage physical activity, coordination, and more.

  1. Wii Boxing: Playing Wii Boxing will help you learn to plan your movements, focus, and balance yourself using hand eye coordination.
  2. Trauma Center: This Wii game will help patients improve their fine motor skills.
  3. Mario Party: Get a number of your patients working at once with this game that offers small challenges and multiple game players.
  4. Wii Bowling: Even those who are in wheelchairs can enjoy Wii bowling.
  5. Brain Age: This game for the Nintendo Wii is a popular brain teaser game that can help those with brain strains and injuries recover more quickly.
  6. We Ski: Use this game to improve balance and agility.
  7. Wario Ware: Smooth Moves: This game will allow patients to play a variety of small games, so they won’t get bored during rehab.
  8. Wii Golf: The Wii golf game will require patients to think spatially and carefully control their movements.
  9. Cooking Mama: Cooking Mama offers a variety of timed mini games that will push patients to keep up, and improve their motor skills.
  10. Wii Tennis: This game is excellent for improving arm movement.
  11. Flash Focus: Flash Focus is an excellent game for quick eye training.
  12. Tiger Woods PGA Tour: Using this game will help develop core muscles for better stability.
  13. Wii Baseball: The Wii’s baseball game encourages patients to throw harder and more accurately than they might have tried without it.
  14. Dance Dance Revolution: Make use of this popular dancing game to get your patients moving, and improve coordination and reflexes.
  15. Nicktoon Movin’: This game is great for kids who need physical therapy, as it uses popular Nickelodeon characters to motivate them to play.
  16. Guitar Hero: With this interactive music game, you can help patients improve their coordination and concentration, as well as hand function.

Mental Health

Help with the mental therapy of your patients by using these games.

  1. World Trade Center: Researchers have used virtual reality to treat people who suffer from September 11th post traumatic stress disorder.
  2. MindHabits Booster: This game’s purpose is to help people feel good about themselves.
  3. Lumosity: The brain training games in Lumosity will help patients reclaim their brain power.
  4. Motor Vehicle Therapy: A Clinic at the University of Buffalo has created a treatment to help victims of major accidents deal with their trauma.
  5. Rainbow Stress Reduction Games: Using these games, you can help patients improve their stress level and relax.
  6. Half Life and Unreal Tournament: Researchers have found that using games such as Half Life and Unreal Tournament offer therapy for people with phobias, including spider-laden environments, heights, and claustrophobic spaces.
  7. Speech and language therapy: This resource allows children and adults to use online video games for speech therapy.
  8. Re-Mission: Kids can play this game that will teach them about cancer, and improve their hand eye coordination at the same time.
  9. Self Esteem Games: By playing one of these games, you’ll be able to change negative thought patterns that often result in insecurity.
  10. The Journey to Wild Divine: This adventure gaming series can help patients improve breathing and meditation techniques that can be therapeutic.
  11. Feed the Monster: Use this game to help teach patients about proper nutrition.
  12. SMART Brain Games: This neurofeedback system is available for popular consoles including the PlayStation and XBox.
  13. Speech Therapy Games: Learn emotion vocabulary and more through these games that offer fun speech therapy.


With these devices, you can make physical therapy more fun and effective.

  1. PCGamerBike: Make use of this "exergaming" device to motivate your physical therapy patients to push themselves farther.
  2. EyeToy: For a variety of games, the EyeToy can improve interaction and physical activity.
  3. Bodypad: This device uses motion tracking to make physical gaming more interactive for the whole body.
  4. jOG: This device offers game play with the Play Station 2, using motion sensing controllers.

Virtual Reality

These virtual reality methods and games will help with rehab.

  1. IREX: The IREX system helps patients improve their balance, and has been proven effective for children with cerebral palsy.
  2. VR therapy apartment: An immersive room virtual reality therapy apartment developed by researchers at the University of Quebec allows patients to get therapy for gambling addictions, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.
  3. Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment: This virtual reality system in Israel helps paralyzed patients put atrophied muscles to work. Patients can participate in virtual sports, or simulate daily activities like driving a car.
  4. VR Rehab: Developed by the Human-Machine Interface Lab at Rutgers, this virtual reality system immerses patients into a game, and allows them to manipulate on-screen objects and characters.
  5. Immersive Therapy: Using Immersive Therapy, patients can improve full body exercise, balance control, and movement, while improving cognitive skills as well.
  6. Telepathy: Scientists at the University of Manchester have created a virtual reality game that helps patients test their telepathic abilities.
  7. Missing limb therapy: The School of Computer Science and School of Psychological Sciences have developed a virtual reality system that gives the illusion that amputated limbs are still there, a therapy that has been helpful for patients that suffer from phantom limb pain.
  8. Virtual Gym: In this life-sized game, players can simulate exercise and get therapy.
  9. Virtual reality robotics: Researchers from Rice University have created a joystick virtual reality rehabilitation system that helps patients with eye-to-hand coordination.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 8:13 am and is filed under Health Resources. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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