It’s the mind that matters. Sure, the body is pretty terrific too. All that walking, talking, and jumping around. It’s a complete joy. But, though the body is the one out there leading the parade, it’s the mind that’s conducting the orchestra. And, when the mind rebels, the parade comes to a crashing halt.
A stroke stops us in our tracks. The walking, talking, and jumping around are replaced by painful efforts to perform the simplest of tasks. Like moving a foot or an arm. But, rehabilitation after stroke is often quite effective. And, new research out of Japan shows once again the power of the mind.
Not only is the mind involved in the stroke itself, the new study shows that the mind may be the most critical factor in the rehab process. Traditional stroke rehabilitation therapy has focused on the side of the body that has lost function. Concentrate on it, focus, struggle, move. But…
The new study shows that engaging the mind in the process provides better results. Rather than focusing on the damaged side of the body, the researchers erected a mirror that reflected the healthy side of the body. So, when the patient moved the healthy leg it looked as if both sides of the body were moving. A totally different approach – trick the mind into thinking the damaged side is functioning normally.
And it works!
The scientists found the patients treated with the mirror, tricked into thinking their weakened side was functioning normally, showed much more rapid improvement.
So, who knows? Remember those funhouse mirrors that made you look really skinny? Hmm…