HandTutor used with mental practice to improve hand movement ability


Image by Arlette via Flickr

Mental practice or movement imagination  is a training method where the patient imagines a movement without actually moving the limb that has movement dysfunction. Recently researchers have proposed the use of mental practice to facilitate motor recovery in stroke patients and other patients with motor disorders. Mental practice is the imagined rehearsal of a movement with the specific intent of improving that movement and it is  suggested that during mental practice the motor control structures in the brain are activated in more or less the same way as during the actual performance of movements. This mechanism of improving limb movement has been reinforced by neuroimaging studies taken during motor imagery and show that the same brain areas are active as during actual movement.  In addition,  studies with healthy individuals have shown that motor imagery and actual action share some striking similarities. When someone is asked to perform a movement, for example, “walk along this line”, and to imagine the same movement, the time to complete the actual walking movement is similar to the time needed for completing the imagined walking movement.


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