One of the conditions that is associated with stroke is hemiparesis, the paralysis of one side of the body. Stroke patients go through intensive rehabilitation to recover use of their limbs impacted by the stroke. A new study that came out in The Lancet used Mirror Therapy to help patients rebound and recover from the stroke.
The study had patients perform their physical therapy in front of a mirror compared to the control group that did their therapy in front of a clear plastic sheet. Although the sample was very small, overwhelmingly those patients who did their therapy in front of a mirror had greater improvements from their therapy.
By placing the patient in front of a mirror it “provides patients with proper visual input because the reflection helps the patient think tht their affected arm is moving correctly, even though it may not be, hence stimulating the brain to help wth nerve control of limb movement”. This is truly a breakthrough in therapy for stroke patients or possibly any patient suffering nerve damage where limbs are impacted.
It doesn’t take rocket science to help people recover. In this case a mirror is the factor that made all the difference. It takes ingenuity to come up with the questions. It requires that we continue the “what if” question because that’s how studies get designed…they start with a hypothesis.
Can you imagine how many patients can reduce the negative impact of stroke if they have access to this type of therapy? You need to find someone who keeps on top of this information, like me, so you increase the options you have in your life. I know it can be overwhelming, but being in the pipeline is how you will get access to the latest and greatest treatments. I would hope that a stroke patient dealing with hemiparesis would go to their neurologist and physical therapist and ask about the Mirror Therapy. It would have a big impact on your self-image and your quality of life.
2 thoughts on “Mirror Mirror On the Wall”
can you reference the Lancet article
the only one i can find is from 1999
1. Rehabilitation of hemiparesis after stroke with a mirror
Eric Lewin Altschuler, Sidney B Wisdom, Lance Stone, Chris Foster, Douglas Galasko, D Mark E Llewellyn, VS Ramachandran
The Lancet – Vol. 353, Issue 9169, 12 June 1999, Pages 2035-2036
has there been a newer study published?
We use motor imagery in combination with the HandTutor hand and finger biofeedback system.
Training with the HandTutor works on all motor and sensory movement impairments and provides active isolated and interjoint finger and wrist movement practice.
The HandTutor is a rehabilitation glove and software which offers impairment oriented training and augmented feedback. The HandTutor encourages active repetitive customized isolated or inter joint coordinated finger and wrist hand exercises and rehabilitates fine movements of the hand and wrist.
On a practical treatment aspect, many patients do not have sufficient movement ability to enable them to do repetitive active tasks or the active tasks can not be customized to work on their specific motor, sensory or cognitive impairment.
Upper extremity hand rehabilitation using the HandTutor will ensure that the patient improves fine motor functional ability which is essential for completing upper extremity/ limb Active Daily Living tasks.