MIRROR THERAPY BOX

My hand is curled, my fingers are scrunched, my wrist is stuck in a forward

position.

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

product delivered.

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.

My good hand doing finger exercises in the mirror

“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.

Cat reflection in the mirror

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

recovery.

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

in exercises.

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.

Kate Ryan

FACEBOOK: Thriver.Global https://www.facebook.com/beyondstroke

Stroke Thrivers https://www.facebook.com/groups/200339547387384

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!

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