The Pulse

Fall Prevention Using Virtual Reality (VR) for Breathing and Balance Exercises

Posted by ACP - Accelerated Care Plus on Sep 29, 2022 10:30:00 PM

According to the CDC, more than 25% of older adults fall each year. Muscle strength and balance decline with aging which can lead to falls and diminished quality of life.

In a comprehensive fall prevention and balance program, physical and occupational therapists can assess strength of core musculature and static/dynamic standing balance. Interventions that include virtual reality (OmniFlow® and OmniVR®) motivate patients to work at higher intensity and longer durations resulting in improved outcomes.

OmniFlow® Breathing Therapy Biofeedback System used with diaphragmatic breathing techniques can improve core stability and balance. Breathing exercises to strengthen the diaphragm can contribute to core stabilization and improved balance.

TOTM-00025 OmniFlow


  • Abdominal exercises based on breathing are more effective in improving pulmonary function and core stability. (Cavaggioni et al., 2015)
  • An 8-week home-based inspiratory muscle training program performed 2x/day showed greater improvements in balance measured by the min-BEST (assesses dynamic balance) than the control group. (Ferraro et al., 2019)

OmniVR® Virtual Rehabilitation System used with static and dynamic standing activities can improve balance and gait. Daily activities require static/dynamic standing balance be maintained to prevent falls.

TOTM-00025 VR


  • 6-weeks of VR balance exercise significantly improved balance (BBS and TUG) and significantly diminished fear of falling in adults over 60 years residing in nursing homes. (Zahedian-Nasab et al., 2021)
  • Systematic review and meta-analysis supports the use of balance exercise with VR vs. without VR in patients with Parkinson’s disease, especially in those with more severe balance deficits at baseline. (Sarasso et al., 2022)
Cavaggioni, L., Ongaro, L., Zannin, E., Iaia, F. M., & Alberti, G. (2015). Effects of different core exercises on respiratory parameters and abdominal strength. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(10), 3249–3253. 
Ferraro, F. V., Gavin, J. P., Wainwright, T., & McConnell, A. (2019). The effects of 8 weeks of inspiratory muscle training on the balance of healthy older adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Physiological Reports, 7(9), e14076. 
Sarasso, E., Gardoni, A., Tettamanti, A., Agosta, F., Filippi, M., & Corbetta, D. (2022). Virtual reality balance training to improve balance and mobility in Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Neurology, 269(4), 1873–1888. 
Zahedian-Nasab, N., Jaberi, A., Shirazi, F., & Kavousipor, S. (2021). Effect of virtual reality exercises on balance and fall in elderly people with fall risk: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Geriatrics, 21(1), 509. 

Topics: Fall Prevention & Balance, Clinical Tip