Manual Therapy, Posturology & Rehabilitation Journal
Manual Therapy, Posturology & Rehabilitation Journal

Virtual reality in the rehabilitation of the balance in the elderly.

Oliveira, Juliana Alencar de; Guaratto, Thaís Feitosa; Bacha, Jéssica Maria Ribeiro; Evangelista, Roberta A. G. T.; Bocalini, Danilo Sales; Greve, Júlia Maria D’Andrea; Alonso, Angélica Castilho


Introduction: Aging is characterized by a series of changes and adaptations that occur in the body progressively and irreversibly over the years. One of the consequences of senescence is the deficit of maintaining balance, this fact is explained by the involvement of the visual, somatosensory and vestibular systems. Given this scenario, the use of tools that can minimize these declines is of paramount importance. In recent times a resource that has been investigated is virtual reality, this technique stands out for presenting cognitive, motor and cardiorespiratory demands beneficial to the elderly. Objective: The present study aimed to perform a narrative review on the influence of virtual reality on the rehabilitation of balance in healthy elderly. Methods: A bibliographic survey was carried out in Portuguese and English, in the electronic databases: Pubmed, Lilacs, Pedro, Scielo, Scopus and Cochrone. A temporal limiter was applied from 2010 to 2015. Results: We selected 84 articles, however only five fit the criteria of the research. Despite the different methodologies and sample used, all articles selected showed significant improvement in postural balance after virtual reality therapy. However, a lack of standardization of the research protocols can be observed, making it difficult to reach a precise conclusion regarding the real effects of this technique for the study population. Conclusion: Virtual reality therapy was shown to be effective for the rehabilitation of postural balance in healthy elderly individuals. However, such evidence needs to be further investigated in future studies.


Aged, Balance Postural, Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy, Virtual Reality, Elderly.


1. Zago AS. Exercício físico e o processo saúde-doença no envelhecimento. Rev bras geriatr gerontol 2010;13(1):153-158.

2. Oliveira AC, Oliveira NMD, Arantes PMM, Alencar MA. Quality of life in elderly people who practice physical activity - a systematic review. Rev bras geriatr gerontol 2010;13(2):301-312.

3. Gazzola JM, Perracini MR, Ganança MM, Ganança FF. Fatores associados ao equilíbrio funcional em idosos com disfunção vestibular crônica. Rev bras otorrinolaringol 2006;72(5):683-90.

4. Braga MM, Nunes GS, Schütz GR, Menezes FS. Treinamento sensóriomotor com nintendo wii® e disco proprioceptivo: efeitos sobre o equilíbrio de mulheres jovens saudáveis. Rev bras ci e mov 2012; 20(3):37-45.

5. Huang MH, Brown SH. Age differences in the control of postural stability during reaching tasks. Gait posture 2013;38(4):837-42.

6. Gomes GAO, Cintra FA, Batista FS, Neri AL, Guariento ME, Souza MLR et al. Perfil de idosos em acompanhamento ambulatorial e preditores de quedas. São Paulo med. J 2013; 131(1): 13-18.

7. Albino ILR, Freitas CDLR, Teixeiro AR, Gonçalves AK, Santos AMPV, Bós AJG. influência do treinamento de força muscular e de flexibilidade articular sobre o equilíbrio corporal em idosas. Rev bras geriatr. gerontol 2012;15(1):17-25.

8. Meneses SRF, Burke TN, Marques AP. Equilíbrio, controle postural e força muscular em idosas osteoporóticas com e sem quedas. fisioter pesqui 2012;19(1):26-31.

9. Pietrzak E, Cotea C, Pullman S. Using commercial video games for falls prevention in older adults: the way for the future? Journal of geriatric physical therapy 2014;37(4):166-177.

10. Santos SSC, Silva ME, Pinho LB, Gautério DP, Pelzer MT, Silveira RS. Risk of falls in the elderly: an integrative review based on the north american nursing diagnosis association. Rev esc enferm usp 2012;46(5):1227-1236.

11. Aylett R, Luck M. Applying artificial intelligence to virtual reality: intelligent virtual environments. Applied artificial intelligence 2000; 14(1):3-32.

12. Booth V, Masud T, Connell L, Bath-hextall F. The effectiveness of virtual reality interventions in improving balance in adults with impaired balance compared with standard or no treatment: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Clinical rehabilitation 2014; 28(5):419-431.

13. Laufer Y, Dar G, Kodesh E. Does a wii-based exercise program enhance balance control of independently functioning older adults? a systematic review. Clin interv aging. 2014; 23(9):1803-13.

14. Rahman SAR. Efficacy of virtual reality-based therapy on balance in children with down syndrome. World applied. Sciences journal. 2010;10 (3):254-261.

15. Loureiro APC, Ribas CG, Zotz TGG, Chen R, Ribas F. Feasibility of virtual therapy in rehabilitation of parkinson’s disease patients: pilot study. Fisioter mov 2012;25(3):659-66.

16. Jack D, Boian R, Merians AS, Tremaine M, Burdea GC, Adamovich SV, Recce M, Poizner H. Virtual reality-enhanced stroke rehabilitation. ieee trans neural syst rehabil eng 2001;9(3):308-18.

17. Junior RSM, Carvalho RJP, Silva EB, Bastos FG. Efeito da reabilitação virtual em diferentes tipos de tratamento virtual. Revista brasileira de ciências da saúde 2011; 9(29).

18. Junior RSM, Silva EB. Effectiveness of the virtual rehabilitation on body balance and motor abilities of individuals with neuromotor impairment: A systematic review. Rev bras ativ fis e saúde 2012;17(3):224-230.

19. Duque G, Boersma D, Loza-Diaz G, Hassan S, Suarez H, Geisinger D, Suriyaarachchi P, Sharma A, Demontiero O. Effects of balance training using a virtual-reality system in older fallers. Clin interv aging 2013;8: 257-63.

20. Kim J, Son J, Ko N, Yoon B. Unsupervised virtual reality-based exercise program improves hip muscle strength and balance control in older adults: a pilot study. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2013(94):937-943.

21. Singh DKA, Rajaratnam BS, Palaniswamy V, Pearson H, Raman VP, Bong PS. Participating in a virtual reality balance exercise program can reduce risk and fear of falls. Maturitas 2012(73):239–243.

22. Singh DKA; Rajaratnam BS, Palaniswamy V, Raman VP, Bong PS, Pearson H. Effects of balance-focused interactive games compared to therapeutic balance classes for older women. Climacteric 2013(16):141-146.

23. Rendon AA; Lohman EB, Thorpe D, Johnson EG, Medina E, Bradley B. the effect of virtual reality gaming on dynamic balance in older adults. Age and ageing 2012(41):549-552.

5aa02c7a0e8825795477d858 mtprehab Articles
Links & Downloads

Man. Ther., Posturology Rehabil. J.

Share this page
Page Sections