Mirror Therapy Exercises You Can Do At Home
Mirror Therapy can be easily done at home. The equipment is portable and it does not take up much space. A lot of physical therapy equipment can be large and bulky and therefore difficult to store at home but mirror boxes are relatively small. For upper limb rehabilitation a mirror of 25 x 20 inches is recommended and 35 x 25 inches for the lower limb (you can purchase the Mirror Therapy Box here).
Once you have the home exercise equipment you can carry out therapeutic exercise in your own home, independently. Therapeutic exercise is important for many reasons. It can improve or maintain physical function and most importantly, reduce pain.
In order to carry out physiotherapy exercises for hands and legs with the mirror, you must place the affected limb behind the mirror and look into the mirror. You will then carry out the exercises depending on what you want to achieve. The general rule is to start with small movements and make them bigger and more complicated as you go along.
Make sure you master each movement and can completely visualise the affected limb as the image you are seeing in the mirror. The vividness of the ‘mirror illusion’ influences results, so if you are easily distracted or cannot maintain the illusion, make the exercise simpler. Try to keep the noise levels down to avoid distraction so turn off any radios and ask family members to be quiet.
Exercises For Hands
Exercises for hands could start off by bending and straightening the fingers of the unaffected hand. Once this is easy, you can try to include both hands, as long as it does not provoke pain. To progress the exercises, you can make them more complex and include an object. This could involve rolling a ball backwards and forwards or reaching for a cup and picking it up.
In order to carry out these exercises with objects you must have identical objects for both hands in identical positions. Another way to make the task more difficult is to make the environment more distracting such as playing music. If possible, it is good to carry out tasks that you are motivated to do. For example, if you are reaching for a cup, make sure it has something you want to drink in it! Or, if you love music, imagine you are conducting an orchestra.
Exercises For Legs
Exercises for legs can be progressed similarly. You may want to start by bending and straightening the toes or pointing and flexing the ankle. This could then include rolling a ball backwards and forwards or tapping your foot to music. If you want to involve the entire leg you can also concentrate on bending and straightening the knee. As long as you are able to see the optical illusion throughout, any movements can be carried out. It has been suggested that as long as movements are bilateral and synchronised, the actual type of movement is not that important.
How Long To Do Mirror Therapy For
Exercise sessions can be carried out as often as you are able. There are different recommendations, with some people recommending little and often and some advising at least once daily with a minimum duration of ten minutes. The maximum duration is dependent on your abilities, but in most cases, it should be around 30 minutes. It can therefore be done at home whenever you have time in your daily schedule.
If you do not have a mirror box yet, you can purchase our Mirror Therapy Rehab Kit here.