Wii Fit a physiotherapy wonder device!

It’s been a month since my last and first post, which I wrote up in the ICU while recovering from my cerebral hemorrhage which caused severe weakness in the left side of my body. In those early days I spent a little over a week relearning how to walk, first on a walker, then entirely unassisted as I progressed quite rapidly regardless of two doctors initially telling me that with the amount of blood in my head I technically shouldn’t have been walking or moving at all. It was a bit of a funny experience, first relearning things like how to straighten your leg at a certain point of a step to stay balanced, how to swing your arms and look around while walking instead of staring forward, arms locked in place like you were seeking out John Conner! While a lot of that progress came down to personal determination to make a full recovery I do have to say that the two physio’s I had were great girls that really knew how to recognize problems and adapt their plans to solving them.

Since then the hospital subjected me to a barrage of tests, after which they realized I could be treated as an outpatient, and I’m currently at home, enjoying long walks, achieving some degree of normalcy, sitting on the old familiar couch, and importantly, have all my books and entertainment at arms length to allow me to feel normal again.

I’ve been through quite a bit over the last month, following the death of a close relative and friend,and the injury of another, while neither of those things could have been prevented, one thing I have been frustrated by on a personal level that I know I probably can do much to resolve is to keep the progress on rehabilitating my left side going. I still am off balance, have very little sensitivity as well as coordination issues and can only resolve most of my problems by keeping a firm eye on what my left side is doing. The nice thing about the UK is that they have a system in which after you are discharged after a situation like mine you are then allowed to stay at home but are handed to a local team in your area that includes in my case an Occupational Therapist and a Physio Therapist, that come over and continue my rehabilitation outside the hospital for free. But I personally felt I needed more exercises and better feedback at home. It’s one thing to have your physio constantly telling you to find your center of gravity, be aware of which side of your body is doing most of the work, be it in your legs or arms, but I felt that for work that I would have to do by myself in the week between sessions I needed to have a compliment to my regime that would help me watch for balance issues, or situations where I would be relying on my right side too much to do the work.
One of the best things I’ve found that really was a help is the Wii Fit program. I’ll be honest, the exercises on it do get redundant, it can be bland at times, and while I may have been apprehensive early on, often remarking that the device was a gimmick or that it was useless for anything else other then for blessing youtube with videos of girls imaginary hula hooping in their knickersRegardless, I’ve found that for my needs it fits the bill. As I go through a routine on the Wii fit software the balance board instantly gives me feed back on screen that helps identify problems with weight distribution as they occur, giving me the opportunity to amend them quite quickly rather then not being aware about them as they occur, and letting them fester.
Obviously the exercises it sets for you imagine you to be a somewhat healthy and active person, for a person barely able to stand on one leg without tipping over like an old tree these might be foreboding at first, but really its just a matter of using a little bit of logic, knowing things you absolutely cannot do safely, ignoring them till you feel you can do them at a later stage, semi-cheating. For instance, some of the yoga exercises that require poses using only one leg, I'll keep something to support myself with close by and do what is required to the best of my ability, letting go for longer periods of time as I work myself to a point where I need to rely on the support as little as possible or not at all.
It goes without saying that this program was not intended at all for physio therapy, so if some of you reading this don't feel confident enough to do this on your own, have someone spot you, and just use good judgement on which exercises to stay away from entirely, and also remember this is a supplement to a trained professional physio therapist, not a replacement, regardless, both my physios and occupational therapist have been very positive about my using Wii Fit. The results are also showing. While my Physio's have been able to tell me what to watch out for,and demonstrate things that rectify it, Wii Fit's instant feedback system does provide a service they cannot, and I am getting results from it, in the past two weeks after using it quite often I have noticed a significant improvement even in things the Physio's stopped working on with me like walking.
As a final note, before I typed this up I did do a search to see how and if the Wii Fit has been used by others, and it's good to see that a couple of hospitals in at least both the US and UK have started incorporating Wii Fit into their rehabilitation programs! So at least you don't have to take it from me gibbering on about the benefits!
The Wii Fit bundle, including the Wii and, game and Balance Board costs £239.99 at Game, but you can definitely score it for less elsewhere