Why Use Mirror Therapy?

The appeal of mirror therapy is that it is simple, less labor intensive, and less expensive than other types of intervention. Evidence suggests that it can accelerate recovery of function from a wide range of neurological disorders such as phantom pain, hemiparesis from stroke or other brain injury or lesion, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and, possibly, peripheral nerve or musculoskeletal injury.

Stroke related paralysis alone affects one-tenth of the population and more than two-thirds of patients suffer from phantom pain after loss of a limb. The high incidence of these problems mean that mirror therapy can have a substantial effect on many people. It can be carried out at home and, once you have purchased the equipment, is free!

Benefits Of Mirror Therapy

Mirror therapy benefits include providing you with the opportunity to manage your own pain. Pain can be incredibly disabling to all patients. It may stop you from working or being able to play with your family. Mirror therapy is also non invasive. Most traditional treatment for pain includes pharmaceutical management. Many pain killers have strong side effects which might impact other areas of your life negatively. They can also be very costly and, at times, addictive. Having an opportunity to manage your pain using mirror therapy may mean less reliance on medication. Reducing your pain could mean returning to areas of your life that you previously had to give up.

Mirror therapy has also been shown numerous times to help improve motor function. Gaining more movement in a paralyzed limb may allow you to be more independent in life. It could be the difference between needing someone to help you get dressed and being able to do it yourself.

Patients who experience pain or loss of function of a limb tend to report a feeling of lack of control. Home-based mirror therapy allows you to practice independently, at your own speed and in your own time. This enhances self-control over the affected limb. This improved feeling of control should improve your mood and self-esteem and reduce anxiety.

Portable therapy mirrors also mean that you can do this treatment anywhere, at any time. They are easy to take with you and can be used during lunch break at work, or on holiday. As the general consensus is that treatment sessions should be ten to 30 minutes long, this can easily be slotted into your daily routine.

Mirror therapy is a safe, economical, and easy-to-use treatment method with multiple benefits for many patient groups.

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Darnell, B (2009) Self-Delivered Home-Based Mirror Therapy for Lower Limb Phantom Pain Am J Phys Med Rehabil 88(1):78-81
Rothgangel AS, Braun SM, Beurskens AJ, Seitz RJ, Wade DT. (2011) The clinical aspects of mirror therapy in rehabilitation: a systematic review of the literature. Int J Rehabil Res. 34(1):1-13
Thieme, H., Bayn, M., Wurg, M., Zange, C., Pohl, M. & Behrens, J. (2012) Mirror therapy for patients with severe arm paresis after stroke - a RCT. Clinical Rehabilitation 27(4), 314-24
Yavuzer, G., Selles, R., Sezer, N., Su¨tbeyaz, S., Bussmann, J. B., Ko¨seo_glu, F.,(2008). Mirror therapy improves hand function in subacute stroke: a randomized controlled trial. Archivesof Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 89(3), 393-398.
Yildirim, M, Kanan, N (2016) The effect of mirror therapy on the management of phantom limb pain Agri 28(3):127-134
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