Gamification in physical therapy: more than using games

Authors Joep Janssen, Olaf Verschuren, Willem Jan Renger, José Ermers, Marjolijn Ketelaar, Raymond van Ee
Published in Pediatric Physical Therapy
Publication date 2017
Research groups Innovation of Movement Care
Type Article


The implementation of computer games in physical therapy is motivated by characteristics such as attractiveness, motivation, and engagement, but these do not guarantee the intended therapeutic effect of the interventions. Yet, these characteristics are important variables in physical therapy interventions because they involve reward-related dopaminergic systems in the brain that are known to facilitate learning through long-term potentiation of neural connections. In this perspective we propose a way to apply game design approaches to therapy development by “designing” therapy sessions in such a way as to trigger physical and cognitive behavioral patterns required for treatment and neurological recovery. We also advocate that improving game knowledge among therapists and improving communication between therapists and game designers may lead to a novel avenue in designing applied games with specific therapeutic input, thereby making gamification in therapy a realistic and promising future that may optimize clinical practice.

Language English
Published in Pediatric Physical Therapy
Year and volume 29 1
Key words computerspellen, co-creatie, fysiotherapie
Page range 95-99

Innovation of Movement Care