Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

You are here: Home Hot Research Using motor imagery in the rehabilitation of hemiparesis.

Using motor imagery in the rehabilitation of hemiparesis.

18 Aug

Researchers from the Sensory Motor Performance Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago examined the effectiveness of a program of imagining movement, or motor imagery training, in the rehabilitation of hemiparesis, using a before-after trial with clinical and behavioral analyses of single cases.

Two survivors of embolic middle cerebral artery stroke that resulted in chronic hemiparesis received training consisting of 12 one-hour sessions, 3 times a week, for 4 consecutive weeks, of imagining wrist movements (extension, pronation-supination) and mental simulations of reaching and object manipulation, making use of a mirror box apparatus.

Two clinical assessments, grip strength, 4 wrist functionality measurements, and 3 timed performance tests were used as outcome measures, taken before training began, at 3 times during the intervention month, and twice for additional long-term measurements.

Performance of the paretic limb improved after the imagery intervention, as indicated by increases in assessment scores and functionality and decreases in movement times. The improvements over baseline performance remained stable over a 3-month period.

The study suggests that these results demonstrate the potential for using motor imagery as a cognitive strategy for functional recovery from hemiparesis. The researchers felt that the intervention targeted the cognitive level of action processing, while its effects may be realized in overt behavioral performance.

Citation: Stevens JA, Stoykov ME. Using motor imagery in the rehabilitation of hemiparesis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2003 July; 84 (7): pp. 1090-2. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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