Technology is reshaping the world we live in every day. New technological innovations in medicine are happening daily, and in ways that one could never imagine. Physical therapists, like most health professionals, are utilizing new medical innovations and techniques year after year. From a free app on your smartphone, to robotic sensory equipment, it’s important to know what’s new and groundbreaking. We’ve found three new innovative technologies that many physical therapists are integrating into their practices.

Nintendo Wii-Hab

Believe it or not, physical therapists are actively starting to prescribe video gaming in their treatment plans. A major challenge for physical therapists is getting patients to engage in their therapy exercises outside of their PT sessions. Thus, enters Nintendo’s Wii-Hab. By incorporating motion gaming into their practice, patients are realizing better mobility and hand-eye coordination. Wii-Hab, and other motion gaming systems, create a competitiveness that keeps patients more engaged in their treatment plan outside of their sessions.

The Ekso Suit

The Ekso Suit, developed by Berkeley-based Ekso Bionics, is an aluminum and titanium exoskeleton that helps patients suffering from lower body paralysis or hemiparesis with movement. The core purpose of the suit is to increase the patient’s progress by healing in steps that slowly reinforce normal biomechanical alignments and gait patterns. By getting patients who suffer from varying degrees of paralysis up and moving, the Ekso Suit fends off muscle deterioration, and can potentially allow fully mobility again. At $140,000 a suit, this is an expensive endeavor at the moment, but it’s definitely a look at the future of lower body rehab.

Rehab Robots

Even though they make take over the world someday, robotic technology is already being used in many ways within the physical therapy practices. The key to successful recovery is repetition in movement, and robotic technology standardizes the measurements of these movements. Robots push patients to do perfect repetitive movements up to 10 times more than traditional therapy techniques.

In fact, the American Physical Therapy Association referred to the pairing of robotics and PT as “The New Age of Function, Movement, and Recovery.”

Cutting edge technologies are increasingly becoming a part of every patient’s recovery process, and researchers continue to improve and expand on the way physical therapists treat their patients. Consult with your physical therapist to see what the best course of treatment is right for you.

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