Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mental Practice Recordings now available!

Bottom line: We studied the effects of mental practice (MP) on stroke recovery. We used recordings so that participants would have a guided imagery experience. These recording were never made available to the general public. Now, an analog is available.  

To find the recordings, do this: At the top right-hand side of this web page is a button that says Mental Practice Recordings for Stroke Recovery. You'll find the recordings there.

My first job in clinical research was at the Kessler Institute in New Jersey. I was teamed with a scientist, Stephen Page. Steve had been a D1 swimmer at University of Tennessee. Prior to getting into rehabilitation I was a musician. So we had an athlete in the musician.  And we had support from Kessler's very large research department.

Early in our relationship Steve told me he wanted to do a study on mental practice (MP). MP is what athletes and musicians do to practice. But they don't actually physically practice, they only imagine the movement. When Steve told me he wanted to MP with stroke survivors I advised him against it. I didn't think the very soft "imagining" would get its butt kicked by the realities of hemiparesis and everything else that comes with stroke. A few weeks later he came to me and said, "I want to do mental practice for imagery with people with stroke". And again I advised him don't do it. And he countered with, "Well we got funding." So I said, let's do it!

There are a few things that our lab was known for. We were known for dosing studies with electrical stimulation. We were known for being the first to modify constraint induced therapy. Sometimes we combined MP with modified constraint

And we were known for early mental practice. Here's an early one, here's a later one. The MP stuff may have had the biggest impact. Therapists like it because they don't have have to burn through a lot of clinical time because the survivor did it themselves. And it didn't stress the survivor for two reasons:

1. There was a deep breathing part to begin and end the MP session, so it may actually reduce stress.

2. There was no actual movement, only imagining the movement, so there was no muscular stress.

And survivors liked it because they could do it on their own. they could do it after they had been discharged from therapy. And its didn't cost them anything.

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