My hand is curled, my fingers are scrunched, my wrist is stuck in a forward
I slide my left hand and forearm into the large black hole. A black triangle
of hope. Is this going to work?
Will my hand magically begin moving? I look at my good hand in the
mirror and wonder, can I really trick my hand into moving. Focusing on my
right hand I move my good wrist ever so slightly up and down and try
moving my affected wrist, any movement will do. I don’t expect too much
from my left hand straight away. Watching my right hand move so perfectly
and smoothly, it makes me angry that I can still feel my left arm stuck.
What is the point? Why keep on trying? I try again 10 more, then 20 and
then I try a different exercise. I hold a Lego piece with my thumb and finger
and do the same with my good hand whilst watching my good hand in the
mirror. Trying with all gumption to force those neurons to reconnect. The
battle in my head is as bad as the battle in my arm. My physio says “you
need to do at least 400 repetitions” to start making new neuropathways in
the brain. Well, she is not the one that has had the stroke, doing 400
repetitions per day! Do not be angry I say to myself and just keep
going, maybe I will see results. I just want so bad for my hand to move
again, anything please.
The mirror box is a fantastic idea and has good intentions of manipulating
the brain and harnessing its great power to grow new connections with
repetition and practice. As you look into the mirror you see a reflection of
your good arm moving and it looks to the eye like it is your opposite arm –
the affected arm. For significant improvement, the mirror box therapy tool
will suit someone who will commit to consistent therapy and complete at
least 400-600 reps every day.
I found the Mirror box is a good therapy tool for self-therapy at home. It is
also fun, and just a new technique instead of boring, repetitive ‘old school’
exercises. The mirror box was an excellent therapy tool for me, I was so
tired of the ‘same old, same old’ arm exercises. After 30 years of
physiotherapy I was looking for something new and different and this
The Mirror Box by harnesses the great power of brains neuroplasticity.
Meaning, the ability to create new brain neurons and connectivity even if
there is dead brain matter after a stroke or Acquired Brain Injury.
I looked at the reflection of my right arm in the mirror to what appeared to
be my left arm. As I watched my ‘left arm’ moving in sync with my right
arm I tried moving my ‘real’ affected left arm at the same time. I moved my
left arm in the same way to the best of my ability, it was important I only
view my ‘left hand’ moving in the mirror. Yet, I was constantly tempted to
look at my affected hand – inside the box. Considering I have gained no to
minimal movement after many years of physiotherapy I did have some
small wins, which was very exciting.
Steps for using the Mirror Box
- Speak to your doctor or therapist before starting mirror box therapy.
- Remove all jewellery from both arm, hand and fingers.
- Start with exercises involving little or movement. Watch your unaffected hand moving first.
- Then try small achievable movements. Conquer simple movements before progressing to more challenging exercises.
- By placing the mirror between your feet. The mirror box can be used for foot exercises as well.
It folds up neatly and I put it away from the kids and high traffic
areas when not in use. The mirror does tend to get scratched; however, my
mirror box came with a cover. Storing it in the protective cover should
prevent any harm to the material or mirror.
For the last 6 months once I have been trying to keep the momentum going
with my rehab by using the Mirror Box, clinging desperately to an almost
lost hope that maybe one day I could get movement in my arm. Yet, I got
busy and did not keep up the 400 – 600 reps per day. Kids, work and life got
in the way of my rehab.
“Whats your biggest dream? To move your fingers? Rotate your
wrist? It’s time to put your foot on the gas. The mirror box can fast
track your recovery”
In my opinion it would suit someone who is within
the first 2 years of stroke recovery. The box would also be suitable to a
stroke survivor at any stage of recovery who has the time to put consistent
effort in every day and do 400 – 600 reps of exercise. I find the mirror box
to be fun, it is light weight and easy to set up with one hand.
What is your biggest dream? To walk again? to move your fingers? What
about you? I was bored with traditional physiotherapy exercises and ready
to give up. However, when I stumbled across the mirror box with its
interesting features it gave me that extra umph to try again.
I tried a few new things, practiced finger movement with blocks. Patting my
cat was funny when she sat on the table her reflection staring back at the
mirror. I patted a pretend cat inside the mirror box and visualized in my
minds eye the feeling of the cat fur between my fingers!
You can get creative with mirror box therapy and put the gas on your stroke
recovery. Making more rapid recovery by fast tracking development of new
neuro pathways Have fun, move forward and put the gas on your stroke
The mirror box was fun and different. Starting small with the movements
you can already do is a great way to keep motivated and increase the
momentum of new brain connectivity. As you increase and try new
exercises and challenge your arm, fingers and hand it will become easier to
increase your abilities.
TOP 5 TAKE AWAYS
1. The mirror box is fun interesting therapy tool which allows for creativity
2. The user must be committed to everyday use and 400 to 600 reps every
day with the mirror box to see results.
3. Suitable for wrist, hand and finger exercises.
4. Start with small achievable movements and add in new exercises as you
achieve new movement.
5. Fold away and store in low traffic areas. The mirror box comes with a
cover to protect its mirror.
FACEBOOK: Thriver.Global https://www.facebook.com/beyondstroke
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Book: BEYOND STROKE: LIVING INDEPENDENTLY WITH ONE ARM by Kate Ryan http://ryanpub.com.au/beyondstroke.htm
You Tube: THRIVER.GLOBAL https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=thriver+global
Kate Ryan is a disability inclusion advocate.
She is a stroke survivor of 33 years and mother of 3 children.
Kate lives in Newcastle, Australia. She is the Author of
BEYOND STROKE: LIVING INDEPENDENTLY WITH ONE ARM.
Kate is a blogger and professional speaker on educating
stroke survivors on becoming stroke Thrivers!