Play is a Powerful Thing! Benefits of Recreational Therapy.

Play is a Powerful Thing! Benefits of Recreational Therapy.

Written by Antonio Lombardo, PT, DPT, USA-W, USA-PL, CPT, and Pn.1

For people dealing with a physical, emotional, or mental health issues therapy in the form of recreation can be very powerful. Recreational therapy can help rebuild skills, improve mood, boost quality of life and strengthen social connections. Working with the right therapist, specializing in this area, can make all the difference and can be extremely beneficial.

What is Recreational Therapy?

It may seem like recreational therapy is only people playing games or making crafts, but the activities are therapeutic and tailored specifically to the person in treatment. Recreation therapy is a formal treatment style conducted by trained experts or a CTRS, Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist.

According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, recreational therapy (or therapeutic recreation) is a service used to “restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition.”

How it works.

Therapists will build a recreation therapy treatment plan based on the individual’s specific needs and symptoms. Some conditions that are right for recreational therapy include:

  • Recovering from a stroke
  • Rehabilitation from an injury, illness or surgery
  • Working to improve motor skills
  • Being treated for cancer
  • Experiencing anxiety
  • Feeling depressed or isolated
  • Recovering from a substance use disorder

Treatment plans use a variety of activities including:

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Sports, Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Dance
  • Animal Interactions
  • Music
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Creative Writing

What are the benefits?

Treatments will not only aid in a patient’s psychological and physical health recovery, but it can help improve their overall well-being. Benefits include:

  • Reduces depression and stress
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Improves functional independence after an injury
  • Recovers basic motor functioning/reasoning
  • Builds confidence
  • Strengthens social connections
  • Increases self esteem
  • Increases strength and physical fitness

If you think recreational therapy could benefit you or someone in your care, talk with your healthcare provider about the possibility of harnessing the power of play to achieve your health goals.

At Professional Physical Therapy, we are dedicated to the overall health and well-being of our patients and will customize a physical therapy rehabilitation plan just right for you. Visit us at Professional Physical Therapy.


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