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Top Stroke Rehabil. 2001 Autumn;8(3):54-63.

Mental practice: a promising restorative technique in stroke rehabilitation.

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Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research & Education Corporation, West Orange, New Jersey, USA.


Upper limb hemiparesis is a common, yet debilitating, result of stroke. It has long been known that mental practice, when combined with physical practice, improves motor learning and performance. Recent studies also indicate that massed use of the affected arm results in cortical reorganizations and correlative functional improvements. During mental practice, there are widespread activations of neural and muscular mechanisms as if the arm were actually being used. This article introduces mental practice as a form of massed practice, reviews the bases for mental practice as a potent restorative technique, and presents data suggesting mental practice as a restorative technique for upper limb hemiparesis.

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