A group of researchers from a university in California trialled ‘mirror therapy’ on a group of eight arthritis sufferers to see if it would reduce the level of pain they experienced from the condition.
Treatment involved hiding the patients arthritic hand and forearm behind an upright mirror, whilst the researcher positioned their opposite hand down the other side of the mirror so that the patient could see its reflection.
The researcher would then open and close their hand, before asking the patient to do the same with their hidden hand. The idea of this is so that the patients brain is tricked into thinking the reflection of the healthy hand was of their own, triggering the brain to reassess the hand with arthritis as free of pain.
According to the results of the study, this process reduced the patient’s pain levels by an average of one-and-half points on a ten-point scale within just one minute of the treatment beginning.
This very simple and cost effective treatment could be used to provide pain relief on a much wider scale in the future, but for now research will continue into the efficacy of the treatment.
A spokesperson from Arthritis care UK has said the whilst the study is promising, further research needs to be conducted to see how effective the treatment may be on a long term basis.
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