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A randomized efficacy and feasibility study of imagery in acute stroke.

15 Aug
In a small but intriguing pilot study, Page, Levine, Sisto and Johnston of the Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation, randomly assigned 13 stroke patients with stable motor deficits in their affected upper limbs to either standard care (one hour of therapy three times a week for six weeks, administered by the same physical and occupational therapists) or standard care plus a 10-minute guided imagery session after each regular therapy session. The imagery group also practiced imagery at home twice each week. The standard care patients participated in a control intervention consisting of exposure to stroke information. After the intervention, the The Fugl-Meyer Assessment of Motor Recovery (Fugl-Meyer) and the Action Research Arm Test (ARA) was used to assess outcomes. The standard care group remained virtually the same. The standard care plus imagery group’s scores improved by 13.8 and 16.4 points respectively, on the Fugl-Meyer and ARA. The study concludes that imagery is a clinically feasible, cost-effective complement to therapy that may improve outcomes more than participation in therapy only for this population.

Citation: Page SJ, Levine P, Sisto S, Johnston MV. A randomized efficacy and feasibility study of imagery in acute stroke. Clinical Rehabilitation. 2001: Jun;15(3):233-40.
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