As an avid casino player, you obviously know better than anyone how soothing it can be to just turn on your favourite game. What you probably didn’t know is that this can also be offered as therapy. However, the effect will probably have to be proven first. But that can always happen. After all, there are people in Las Vegas who already believe in it. All they have to do is prove that they are right.
The game of video poker
In Las Vegas, you can find video poker machines almost everywhere. You’ll find them in bars, supermarkets and even in upscale restaurants. For the past few years, hospitals have been added to that list. Or at least one hospital. The institute in question treats people who are recovering from various problems, including traumatic injuries, strokes, amputations, neurological issues and more. In this hospital, there is a gym where, among the weights, there are two video poker machines.
While playing poker, you are sitting the whole time, which may make this game in a rehabilitation clinic sound illogical. However, therapists from the hospital say that the games help the patients in different ways. One of the areas in which it helps would be the area of cognitive skills. The prefrontal cortex, for example, is stimulated by gambling. However, several factors may have caused this part to become damaged. And that could be from traumatic injuries, drug use or strokes. When you think of the brain as an orchestra, the prefrontal cortex is the conductor. By having patients play video poker, they are training the conductor, so to speak.
Different learning opportunities
By having patients play video poker, doctors believe they are experiencing different learning moments. After all, they have to absorb and remember information to manipulate it later so that they win from it. They also have to base various decisions on that information and learn not to act on impulse. Thus, the main aim is to test memory, mental flexibility and attention.
Not physically challenging
Video poker, of course, is not a game that challenges you physically. Yet it can help patients with mobility problems. Indeed, sometimes patients stand while they play to train their tolerance for long-standing periods. Players may also be given weights to put on while they play and have to keep them on for an entire 15-minute session. There is no way to deviate from these 15 minutes. Whether the patient has lost all the money or not, no real money can be bet on the games, and no real winnings can be made. In the beginning, about 10 of the 90 patients played the games, although that number will have increased by now.
It is true that a game can provide new motivation for certain people. For example, if you are confined to your bed all day, a game can be just the push you need to sit up straight. Or, if you don’t feel like standing for long periods of time, the distraction of a game can help.