Could Gaming Have Health Benefits?

Playing computer games has often been widely criticised as being bad for your health. Several studies conducted over the years have claimed that gaming can have a whole host of negative effects on a person’s physical condition, mental state and personality. However, it might be that gaming does not deserve such a bad reputation, as recent studies show that it could actually have some health benefits.

One example is where computer games are being used as an effective form of physiotherapy for children with cystic fibrosis. This genetic condition, which creates a build-up of mucus in the lungs, is often treated through certain forms of physiotherapy, including breathing exercises. Having noted that many children appeared reluctant to perform these breathing exercises on a regular basis, Doctors have implemented computer gaming into a physiotherapy program, where game-play is controlled through breathing into a spirometer; a device which measures the amount and speed of how a person exhales. Results so far have been encouraging.

Computer games have also been used as a form of physiotherapy for arm injuries or to help improve hand strength. There also appears to be a number of therapeutic applications, serving as a cognitive distraction for patients undergoing painful treatments.

US based project, Games for Health, is one organisation that is championing the research and knowledge sharing of gaming in healthcare, bringing together and supporting researchers, medical professionals and games developers. Ben Sawyer, co-founder of Games for Health and a former games developer himself, has spent the last 7 years discovering new ways to expand the use of gaming beyond entertainment. He has recently appeared on engineering community, element14’s The Ben Heck Show, working with famed computer engineering guru, Ben Heck on a new kind of games controller. Ben Heck is no stranger to this type of project having previously built a one-armed Xbox 360 games controller for amputees.

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  1. Samantha says:

    I believe computer games and console games help relieve stress . Just with everything in life to much of a good thing isn’t good. So when it comes to games moderation is the key.

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