Friday, October 14th, 2022
Stroke survivors are beautiful and handsome heroes. But it’s not about vanity – it’s about recovery. Mirror Therapy (MT) is a critical intervention – yet vastly underutilized.
MT was created by Dr. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran at the University of California, San Diego in the early 1990’s, and originally intended to relieve phantom limb pain in amputees. The practice evolved to treat post-stroke patients. The Evidence-Based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation (EBRSR) reviewed 47 Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) using MT.
Their conclusion: It works.
It’s inexpensive. It’s simple. And it’s backed by research. Lots of research. So why is it underutilized?
Like many new therapies, the time from research to being widely used is incredibly frustrating. Textbooks, teaching hospitals and clinics must be updated and trained, then they must adopt these new practices.
It can take years.
If you are a neuro therapist, ask yourself: “Have I reviewed the EBRSR or Stroke Engine studies to make sure I am current on the latest interventions?” Like any discipline, continuous learning is critical, perhaps no more critical than the medical profession. Some of the most powerful interventions are the simplest (and often the most affordable).
If you are a stroke survivor, or a caregiver, make sure you advocate for the best treatments – educate yourself – then work with your therapist to explore all avenues to your success.
Oh, and check out Dr. Ramachandran’s Ted Talk – he’s an amazing speaker with a damn impressive uvula. Say what? Yes! He has phonetically mastered the art of rolling his “R’s” during speech. I think my speech therapy friends will get a kick out of his perfect alveolar trill. It is quite impressive!