Developed by the famous neuroscientist, V.S. Ramachandran, Mirror Therapy (or MT) cleverly takes advantage of the neural infrastructure of our brains.
That is because scientists have discovered that humans – just like other primates- have evolved mirror neurons, in their pre-motor cortex, which is sensitive to stimuli involved in mimicking the behavior of others and others mimicking our behaviors.
One seminal implication of these specialized cells is that when we observe others behaving as we do, mirror neurons begin to fire rapidly, which has the effect of making us believe that we are the ones performing the action.
This is the major physiological route through which vicarious learning can take place. Capitalizing on this knowledge, MT uses a specially designed mirror box that reflects the patient’s unaffected limb, in order to create the illusion that the person’s amputated limb is functioning and free from any pain.
This observational feedback stimulates the mirror neurons, which help with the recovery of the affected part.