J Korean Phys Ther.  2021 Apr;33(2):106-113. 10.18857/jkpt.2021.33.2.106.

Effects of Action Observation Training and Mirror Therapy on the Electroencephalograms of Stroke Patients

  • 1Graduate Student, Department of Rehabilitation Science, Graduate school, Daegu University, Daegu, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Physical Therapy, Andong Science College, Andong, Republic of Korea


This study examined the effectiveness of action observation training (AOT) and mirror therapy in improving the electroencephalograms (EEG) of stroke patients.
Patients were allocated randomly to three groups: an action observation training with activity (AOTA) group (n=12), a mirror therapy with activity (MTA) group (n=11), and an AOT-only group (n=12). All groups received conventional physiotherapy in five 60-minute sessions over six weeks. The AOTA, MTA, and AOT groups practiced AOTA, MTA, and AOT, respectively, in three 30-minute sessions over six weeks. The differences between the pre- and post-treatment EEGs were assessed using a paired t-test. Comparisons between the groups were performed using one-way ANOVA.
The participants in the AOTA and MTA groups showed significant improvement in the EEG. AOTA improved the alpha waves of the prefrontal, temporal, and parietal lobes significantly (p<0.05). MTA improved the alpha waves of the temporal lobe significantly (p<0.05). AOT did not result in significant improvement
AOTA and MTA improve stroke patients’ EEGs. Mirror neuron activation combined with conventional stroke physiotherapy promotes motor recovery and functioning. The effect is enhanced when the actions are executed after observation. Further research into mirror neuron activation will be needed to develop methods to improve the EEGs of stroke patients.


Action observation; Mirror therapy; EEG; Stroke
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