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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 503190, 18 pages
Research Article

Motor Imagery Experiences and Use: Asking Patients after Stroke Where, When, What, Why, and How They Use Imagery: A Qualitative Investigation

1Research Department Reha Rheinfelden, Salinenstrasse 98, 4310 Rheinfelden, Switzerland
2Department of Sport and Health Sceinces, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
3 Institute of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, 80539 Munich, Germany
4Faculty of Social Work and Health, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, 31134 Hildesheim, Germany
5Department of Behavioural Neurology, Medical faculty, University of Basel, 4053 Basel, Switzerland

Received 3 October 2011; Revised 11 January 2012; Accepted 16 January 2012

Academic Editor: Steven L. Wolf

Copyright © 2012 Corina Schuster et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. A framework on where, when, what, why, and how to use imagery from sports psychology was explored whether it can be applied in patients after stroke in their chronic stage. Methods. Eleven patients (ages 31–85, 3 females, 1.3–6.4 years after stroke) were interviewed. Semistructured interviews were conducted before and after a two-week MI intervention period with six MI sessions. Information was obtained regarding experiences and knowledge of MI, and the evaluation of an MI practical example. The coding scheme was based on the framework and a hierarchical categorisation. Results. Information regarding domains where, when, what, why, and how to use imagery was addressed. Patients imagined themselves as healthy individuals, did not focus on surroundings during MI practice,and reported to use positive imagery only. After MI training, patients became more flexible regarding their location and position during MI practice. Conclusions. MI became an automatic process, and patients did not need specific concentration and quietness as mentioned in the first interview. Patients recommended daily MI training and began to transfer MI to practice movements that were affected by the stroke. In contrast to sports, patients did not talk about how MI was triggered rather than how MI was designed.