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eISSN: 1643-3750

Virtual Reality Reflection Therapy Improves Balance and Gait in Patients with Chronic Stroke: Randomized Controlled Trials

Taesung In, Kyeongjin Lee, Changho Song

Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Science, Sahmyook University, Seoul, South Korea

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:4046-4053

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.898157

Available online:

Published: 2016-10-28

BACKGROUND: Virtual reality reflection therapy (VRRT) is a technically enhanced version of the mirror therapy concept. The aim of this study was to investigate whether VRRT could improve the postural balance and gait ability of patients with chronic stroke.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Twenty-five patients with chronic stroke were randomly allocated into the VRRT group (n=13) and the control group (n=12). The participants in both groups performed a conventional rehabilitation program for 30 minutes. The VRRT group also performed a VRRT program for 30 minutes, five times a week for 4 weeks. The control group performed conventional rehabilitation program and a placebo VRRT program. Outcome measures included Berg Balance Scale (BBS), the Functional Reaching Test (FRT), and the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test (for dynamic balance ability), postural sway (for static balance ability), and 10 meter walking velocity (10 mWV) for gait ability.
RESULTS: There were statistically significant improvements in the VRRT group compared with the control group for BBS, FRT, TUG, postural sway (mediolateral sway distance with eyes open and eyes closed, anteroposterior and total sway distance with eyes open but not with eyes closed), and 10 mWV (p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Applying VRRT (even as a home treatment) along with a conventional rehabilitation program for patients with chronic stroke might be even more beneficial than conventional rehabilitation program alone in improving affected lower limb function. Future studies should investigate the effectiveness of VRRT with optimal patient selection, and duration and intensity of training.

Keywords: Exercise Therapy - methods, Chronic Disease, Gait - physiology, Physical Therapy Modalities, Postural Balance - physiology, Stroke - physiopathology, Stroke Rehabilitation - methods, Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy - methods, Walking