After a stroke, brain exercise is key: Virtual reality training found to be effective supplemental therapy for regaining movement


Image: After a stroke, brain exercise is key: Virtual reality training found to be effective supplemental therapy for regaining movement

(Natural News) Aside from enhancing a player’s immersion when it comes to video games, a study has recently determined that virtual reality (VR) can also be used to “improve arm and hand movement after a stroke.”

VR training is shown to be just as effective as regular therapy and study author Iris Brunner, Ph.D., of Aarhus University, Hammel Neurocenter in Denmark, said: “Virtual reality training may be a motivating alternative for people to use as a supplement to their standard therapy after a stroke.”

Brunner added that pending research could also be done to establish the possibility of VR therapy being used remotely by patients. Having this convenient option could mean that people no longer need to go to a medical center to receive standard therapy.

The study involved 120 participants with an average age of 62. Each individual had suffered a stroke on average at least one month before the study began and they all experienced mild to severe muscle weakness or impairment in their wrists, hands or upper arms.

All 120 participants underwent training sessions that lasted for at least four to five hours per week for four weeks. Before the study began, the participants’ arm and hand functioning were tested. Once the training concluded, it was tested once again.

Half of the participants received standard physical and occupational therapy while the rest received virtual reality training that was developed to improve rehabilitation. The VR training was designed to hone arm and hand functioning, and each participant used a screen and gloves with sensors to play several games that integrated arm, hand and finger movements. (Related: Virtual pain relief: Researchers believe video games can reprogram your brain, or at least distract you.)

Brunner explained that while the two groups showed remarkable improvement in their functioning, “there was no difference between the two groups in the results.” She added that based on the results, either type of training could be used and that it just depends on the patient’s preference.

Brunner concluded that the virtual reality system was not a totally immersive experience. She posited that for now, healthcare professionals can only hypothesize on whether “using virtual reality goggles or other techniques to create a more immersive experience would increase the effect of the training.” However, virtual reality training remains a safer option, unlike those that could eventually have negative side effects on individuals who have had a stroke.

Alternative stroke treatments

If you would like try some natural treatments to minimize your risk factors for stroke, try consuming more of the foods listed below:

  • Black or green tea – Drink at least three cups of black or green tea daily to help reduce your risk of stroke. Tea flavonoids, or plant nutrients, can help decrease cholesterol and blood pressure. Black tea is also good for diabetes management. The compounds in black tea simulate the effects of insulin and prevent starch from turning into sugar.
  • Pomegranate – Pomegranate concentrate is full of antioxidants and phytosterols, which are plant steroids that lower cholesterol.
  • Fruits and vegetables – A diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables isn’t just good for your overall physical health. Consuming more fruit “may increase happiness and well-being as quickly as the next day.” Eat at least eight portions of fruits and vegetables per day to boost life satisfaction and help lower stress levels.

Brain exercise is a primary factor in regaining movement after a stroke, and the following activities can help you relax and reduce tension in both the mind and body:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Hobbies like reading, solving word puzzles or playing board games
  • Positive self-talk
  • Meditation
  • Getting enough rest

You can learn more about virtual reality applications at VirtualReality.news.

 

Sources include:

NewsWise.com

HealthLine.com


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