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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Aug;91(8):689-96, quiz 697-700. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31824fa86d.

The mirror therapy program enhances upper-limb motor recovery and motor function in acute stroke patients.

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  • 1Department of Physical Therapy, Sahmyook University College of Health Science, Seoul, Korea.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the mirror therapy program on upper-limb motor recovery and motor function in patients with acute stroke.


Twenty-six patients who had an acute stroke within 6 mos of study commencement were assigned to the experimental group (n = 13) or the control group (n = 13). Both experimental and control group members participated in a standard rehabilitation program, but only the experimental group members additionally participated in mirror therapy program, for 25 mins twice a day, five times a week, for 4 wks. The Fugl-Meyer Assessment, Brunnstrom motor recovery stage, and Manual Function Test were used to assess changes in upper-limb motor recovery and motor function after intervention.


In upper-limb motor recovery, the scores of Fugl-Meyer Assessment (by shoulder/elbow/forearm items, 9.54 vs. 4.61; wrist items, 2.76 vs. 1.07; hand items, 4.43 vs. 1.46, respectively) and Brunnstrom stages for upper limb and hand (by 1.77 vs. 0.69 and 1.92 vs. 0.50, respectively) were improved more in the experimental group than in the control group (P < 0.05). In upper-limb motor function, the Manual Function Test score (by shoulder item, 5.00 vs. 2.23; hand item, 5.07 vs. 0.46, respectively) was significantly increased in the experimental group compared with the control group (P < 0.01). No significant differences were found between the groups for the coordination items in Fugl-Meyer Assessment.


This study confirms that mirror therapy program is an effective intervention for upper-limb motor recovery and motor function improvement in acute stroke patients. Additional research on mirror therapy program components, intensity, application time, and duration could result in it being used as a standardized form of hand rehabilitation in clinics and homes.

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