Saturday, February 13, 2016


Marcelle Greene
Up Stroke
Friday, December 11, 2015

"Pay no attention to that man behind
the curtain." -Wizard of Oz
I concealed my affected hand behind a mirror while I watched the reflections of my healthy hand open and close. This tricked my brain: As I watched the reflection of my healthy hand, I had the sensation that my affected hand mimicked the movement! But I couldn’t resist peaking behind the mirror, where I saw the reality of my curled limp hand. For me, that shattered any benefit of mirror therapy.

What I find more useful is to study my healthy side for clues on how to use my challenged side. When working with SaeboFlex to grasp balls, I sometimes notice my movement feels unnatural. I am approaching the ball in a way that makes it easier to grasp given my disability. I stop and study how my healthy side would do it.  I observe the angle I reach from, the position of my hand, then try to mimic that with my affected side – because my objective isn’t to pick up a therapy ball – but to move my affected side as normally as possible.

I learned from Eric that symmetry is important. He sees a heavy crease in the skin on my affected side, while the healthy side has a fine line. He sees the ridge of a curving tendon on my affected shin, while its mate runs straight. He shows me a mound and hollow in my affected calf compared with the smooth curve of the healthy muscle on the other side. He tells me to imagine my skin like a sausage casing and to spread the meat evenly inside it.

My body is a roadmap showing me where it needs work: level the shoulders, flatten the torso, balance the hips. Today my mirror therapy encourages me to look at both sides.

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