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Fairytale Physical Therapy: A Combination of Entertainment and Healing

Posted by Brian Spence on Oct 25, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Physical TherapyAll kids love fairytales, and children who are in the hospital are no exception. Now, one group has come up with a way to combine fairytales, physical therapy and even arts and crafts.

Overall, the experience is therapeutic for kids on several different levels. Not only does it improve their mood by enacting fairytales, but it also helps them to get out of bed to perform simple, therapeutic movements which keep their muscles in motion. Plus, a little bit of art therapy is always beneficial because it helps kids to express how they're feeling.

Combining Fairytales and Physical Therapy

The idea behind fairytale physical therapy came from Jenna Kantor and Katie Schmidt who studied physical therapy at Columbia University. Additionally, they were both interested in the performing arts. So they came up with an entertaining way to get children interested in physical therapy: performing fairytales and incorporating physical therapy movements in the performance.

But how does it work? Kantor explains it as follows: "Something as simple as marching can be activating your abdominals and also working your balance, which is something [the patients] don't get to do on a regular basis because they are spending most of their time sitting or laying in a bed."

Performance at New York Presbyterian

Recently, the group performed "The Snow Queen" at New York-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital in NYC. The songs were taken from Disney's "Frozen" and about half a dozen children attended. The performance was entertaining and made the patients and their parents feel more hopeful about their long stay in the hospital.

And at the end of the performance, the kids got coloring books which showed them how to do the physical therapy movements which accompanied the performance. The actors also sat down with the kids and did some arts and crafts once the performance was over.

Fairytale Physical Therapy has been doing performances for four years now and Kantor hopes that eventually they'll be able to offer their services at every children's hospital. 

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