Mirror therapy for stroke rehab could help improve movement in your hand and arm after stroke.
It can even help you recover from arm or hand paralysis after stroke!
This article will help you understand how mirror therapy works.
We’ll also share a success story of someone who used mirror therapy to overcome hand paralysis after stroke.
Let’s get started.
How Mirror Therapy for Stroke Rehab Works
Mirror therapy involves the use of a tabletop mirror to create a reflection of your unaffected arm in place of your affected arm during therapy.
Then, you perform various rehab exercises with your non-affected arm and hand.
The mirror image ‘tricks’ your brain into thinking that your affected arm is moving like your unaffected arm.
Although your conscious mind knows that it’s just a reflection, the illusion helps your brain rewire itself through a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity.
Mirror neurons also play a role, but we’ll get to that in a second.
How to Do Mirror Therapy
To practice mirror therapy, place a mirror on a table with the mirror facing your unaffected arm. Position the mirror so that it looks like the reflection of your unaffected arm is taking the place of your affected arm.
In this position, practice 30 minutes of any arm, wrist, or finger exercises of your choice. While performing rehab exercises as normal, the mirror will help your brain rewire itself and improve your motor skills.
While this phenomenon revolves around neuroplasticity, some of the success can be attributed to the mirror neurons in your brain.
Next, we’ll discuss the difference between motor neurons and mirror neurons, then move on to how it helps with rehabilitation.
How Mirror Neurons Help
When you move, it’s because motor neurons fired in your brain which told your muscles to move. Every time you walk, talk, sit, or stand, it’s the result of motor neurons in your brain. These motor neurons are found in the same area of the brain that mirror neurons are located.
Mirror neurons are a little different, though, in that they fire when you simply SEE a movement occur. In other words, when you watch someone move, your mirror neurons are firing off.
It’s no coincidence that the word ‘mirror’ is used here. Mirror therapy triggers mirror neurons to fire when you see the illusion of your affected arm moving in the mirror. Even though it’s just a reflection of your unaffected arm, studies have shown that your brain still perceives it as your affected arm and your mobility can improve.
Pretty cool stuff, right?
We had a customer named Margaret use the principles of mirror therapy to help her husband recover his paralyzed hand.
Even though doctors said that recovering movement in his hand was impossible, Margaret helped him achieve the impossible with the help of mirror therapy.
You can read the success story here if you’re interested.
Summary: Mirror Therapy for Stroke Rehab
Overall, mirror therapy is a great form of rehabilitation for anyone struggling with severe arm or hand impairments after stroke.
It works by “tricking” your brain into thinking that your affected arm and hand is moving even when they’re not.
Many people have seen success with mirror therapy, so if this has caught your interest, give it a try.
It might work for you too!