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Adding Magic to Fairytale Physical Therapy

Posted by Brian Spence on Jan 4, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Physical Therapy, Allied HealthDo you want to build a snowman? Anna and Elsa do in the Disney movie, Frozen. With help from some creative doctor of physical therapy students, kids in physical therapy also want to build a snowman (or at least sing the song!). Students from UW-Lacrosse added fun to physical therapy by incorporating a performance of Frozen into the exercises the kids needed to do.

This method is called Fairytale Physical Therapy. Founded by students at Columbia University Medical Center, this student-run organization adds magic to the sometimes-dull process of PT. The students put on a play, such as Frozen or Beauty and the Beast, and teach children how to do the dance moves, which consist of therapeutic exercises.

What Does Fairytale Physical Therapy Accomplish?

Children with physical or mobility limitations not only get to see the fun of a Disney play; they get to be part of it! Learning the dance moves to the songs becomes a magical way to do their PT exercises. It increases their quality of life. Children with physical limitations are often at risk for depression, anxiety and anger disorders, which work against their care. A fun, interactive play helps the children really enjoy their therapy, which is very important.

Fairytale Physical Therapy doesn't only help the children, it also gives the students an opportunity to reach out to the children they are helping. It gives them experience in leadership and organization roles. Plus, it's a nice break from studying the names of different body parts. One participating student from UW-Lacrosse, Marlee Freitag, noted that she felt refreshed after rehearsals. She enjoyed being a positive influence in people's lives.

The fun won't stop there! Now the UW-Lacrosse chapter of Fairytale Physical Therapy is working on putting their choreographed dance videos on YouTube so kids can follow along at home.

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