by Linda Warner and M Evelyn McNeill


“The purposes of this article are 1) to review the sports and motor-learning literature regarding the effects of mental imagery and mental practice on physical skills and 2) to explore the feasibility of using them as adjunctive techniques in physical therapy. In the area of sports, evidence exists that mental practice can improve motor skills. Research that supports a mind-body relationship is cited, in addition to research using mental imagery from the areas of medicine, biofeedback, psychoneuroimmunology, and physical therapy. Variables that influence the outcome of mental practice such as vividness, kinesthetic imagery, and combining physical and mental practice are examined, and two major variables associated with ineffective results are identified. The advantages and disadvantages of using mental imagery for physical therapy patients are discussed with the conclusion that mental imagery has the potential to be a viable technique for physical therapists.”