Friday, December 11, 2015


"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." -Wizard of Oz

I concealed my affected hand behind a mirror while I watched the reflections of my healthy hand open and close. This tricked my brain: As I watched the reflection of my healthy hand, I had the sensation that my affected hand mimicked the movement! But I couldn’t resist peaking behind the mirror, where I saw the reality of my curled limp hand. For me, that shattered any benefit of mirror therapy.   

What I find more useful is to study my healthy side for clues on how to use my challenged side. When working with SaeboFlex to grasp balls, I sometimes notice my movement feels unnatural. I am approaching the ball in a way that makes it easier to grasp given my disability. I stop and study how my healthy side would do it.  I observe the angle I reach from, the position of my hand, then try to mimic that with my affected side – because my objective isn’t to pick up a therapy ball – but to move my affected side as normally as possible. 

I learned from Eric that symmetry is important. He sees a heavy crease in the skin on my affected side, while the healthy side has a fine line. He sees the ridge of a curving tendon on my affected shin, while its mate runs straight. He shows me a mound and hollow in my affected calf compared with the smooth curve of the healthy muscle on the other side. He tells me to imagine my skin like a sausage casing and to spread the meat evenly inside it.

My body is a roadmap showing me where it needs work: level the shoulders, flatten the torso, balance the hips. Today my mirror therapy encourages me to look at both sides.   


  1. Even though I never did "mirror therapy" exactly, a mirror was sooo helpful in helping me walk and regain control if my face. I couldn't move the left side if my face at all...until I was given a mirror. Once I was given a mirror, I could move parts of my face with much practice. My gait was also greatly improved my walking towards a mirror again and again. Mirrors serve a much greater purpose than just vanity...they are critical for recovery.

    1. I was at a workshop recently that was all about "Brain Gymn" - that system was interesting, not that I am totally sold on it but there were lots of good ideas.

      One important feature they were working with was the idea of doing lots of motions in opposite directions. (reach up then back to center and center to down then back to cente)not just for muscle but for cognative reasons)Not exactly the same concept as the mirror therapy but same sort of dealing with brain recovery, thinking and space and movement.

      Also was the concept of moving across the body a lot with what ever part of you works. I think it is kicking in some of the same brain tricks as mirror therapy in a way. For example.. Say your right hand works.. try to bounce a ball on the outside of your left knee, and track the ball with your eyes. The idea being that it works on the brain for spatial awareness, proprioception and shows some increase in muscle response like the mirror. I imagine it also works on increasing the ability range of the strong side which can't hurt.

      Oh and another game activity was basically the patty cake clapping games that girls like to play. Basically a mirror effect with another person being the mirror. Focusing on and copying others physical movement patterns is good for lots of types of brain damage.

  2. Are you learning a LOT about your body or what???