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No Big Surprise: Motor Imagery Increases Burn Patients’ Mobility

13 Sep

Researchers from the Université de Lyon in Villeurbanne Cedex, France, investigated whether guided imagery can improve motor performance in the rehabilitation of burn patients, the way we know it does with central nervous system injury.

This study aimed to investigate the effects of a 2-week Motor Imagery (MI) training program, combined with conventional rehabilitation, on the recovery of motor functions in patients with hand burns. 

Fourteen patients admitted to the Medical Burn Center took part in the study and were randomly assigned to the imagery or the control group.  Behavioral data related to the ability to perform each successive step of three manual motor sequences were collected at five intervals during the protocol.

The results provided evidence that MI may indeed facilitate motor recovery, and noted that the belief in the effectiveness of MI was strong in all patients. MI may substantially contribute to improve the efficacy of conventional rehabilitation programs. Hence, this technique should be considered as a reliable alternative method to help burn patients to recover motor functions.

Citation:  Guillot A, Lebon F, Vernay M, Girbon JP, Doyon J, Collet C.  Effect of motor imagery in the rehabilitation of burn patientsJournal of Burn Care Research. 2009 Jul-Aug; 30 (4): pages 686-93.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award