Remapping my 100% paralysed arm

Someone here asked me what remapping my arm entailed. Here’s the passage from my book. It’s written in the rough… but you may get the gist. I suspect I have not been as clear as I would like to… the significance of this procedure may not be obvious… anyway, here goes :

Remapping and reinstating mobility

Six months after my stroke, I am left perplexed at why many a limb is left in a lethargic state to wither away until it is too late to remap control to new, undamaged, parts of the brain. In my case, I was extremely lucky to know my Chinese doctor, Kangnian, who had firm knowledge and experience on how to perform this magical “old-school” procedure to reinstate full mobility and movement to my arm, hand, and fingers. In China it was his job to reinstate movement in patients. The process of remapping and establishing feeling, sensation, touch and eventually proprioception would then follow on naturally, because movement and use of the upper limb had been achieved. The procedure was done in about three weeks, with hourly sessions twice a week. Most sessions were closer to 45 minutes in length. Ten days after the stroke were allowed to pass before we started the remapping. This is to allow BDNF to do its thing, and for things to stabilize after the stroke. The activation and rehabilitation of my arm, hand and fingers was done by issuing clear, concise commands. The first task was to issue orders for the arm to right itself, so I could see it in front of me. Remember my arm, hand and fingers were totally paralysed, and no amount of casual effort sufficed to move any part of my upper limb. Kangnian would issue a command for me to move my arm, and I would obey the order with all my might. Kangnian would always have the next step in mind, and would consolidate each new stage in acquiring mobility before the next session. The repertoire of movement was built, from one movement, to two, to several, to many. The beginning was hardest and slowest. Practise on my own in between sessions was important. After raising my forearm was established, the next stage could be raising and lowering my arm in the manner of chicken wings. Every step had to be taken extremely slowly. Remember, there was no connection between brain and arm so it was a question of mind over matter. Every movement required maximum concentration and will-power. The next step might have been rotating my hand from supination to pronation and vice-versa. Gradually we worked on components of the arm which were smaller and smaller. One main objective was to establish precision in controlling the first three fingers (including the thumb) since these components work in tandem to manipulate objects. The first three fingers combined take up a relatively large area of the brain. Again, all these stages were established, one movement at a time, with commands issued verbally, out aloud for the brain to digest and process, along with a single movement, back and forth. Each stage of development was tried and tested, and consolidated before being resumed next session. The Concentration on my gaze, my focus of thought, and determination was essential. It was team work, for my belief and trust in Kangnian’s guidance had to be total, and without question. He was after all proceeding exactly at the pace I could manage, going back if anything were still uncertain or a bit shaky.

My stroke-side arm movements were all recovered and re-established. No one type of movement was omitted. The functions of my upper limb were completely remapped to redundant, healthy parts of my brain, and there was no way to unlearn the procedure. The new part of the brain that took control of my arm would now be established and hard-wired into my system. The new pathways that had been established with this remapping technique would now reinforce themselves and grow in confidence each time I moved my arm, hand, or fingers. I realised that I had participated in a rare technique that might possibly, someday, become standard practice. A movie scene, again from Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” comes to mind, when Bill realises Uma Thurman has been taught a secret and deadly martial arts procedure. “Pai Mei taught you the five-point palm exploding heart technique?!” The story of Pai-Mei, like Kangnian’s remapping, is now something of a lost art.


That is an amazing technique. Thanks for sharing.


This is brilliant, a while back I wrote a little about audio-motor training here, I have had some benefit from a variation of audio biofeedback using language too. It’s a fascinating area of stroke rehabilitation, and as far as I know, not in the West anyway, used to efficacy.


Hi Roland

Possibly several people have asked but I definitely asked you for this in the last day or two. Thank you very much.

So many questions arise:
What does the acronym stand for?
Was the delay of 10 days important
Was this something I had to happen soon after
what pace did the remapping occur

I think I’ve got more questions but we wood need to be in conversation rather than the back and forth of text.

I wonder if I have in your vocabulary remapped my arm myself in some fashion?
I haven’t verbalized instructions but I do internally play them and I’ve gradually worked my arm from entirely useless too fairly functional but still with deficits in the quality. So for example I can raise my hand to my left armpit but I can’t hold the bar as soap in it and trace the curves as my torso transitions into my arm as is required in my morning shower. But 2 years ago I couldn’t get the hand there at all, a year ago I could get the hand there but not press at all. Now I can press but I don’t have the wrist dexterity nor are the fingers sufficiently bidable to secure the soap.
that has to be next I guess

This strikes me as a topic thread that we’re going to want to explore more

Ciao Simon


You’re very welcome, Simon.
As there is some interest in this ( I had no idea there would be ) I would like to share a video of me showing off my newly acquired movements. My Chinese Dr’s voice is in the background, encouraging me. I guess this was 2 weeks into the programme.


If my readers are even more patient, I’ll attempt a video of me playing the piano
Lots of good luck to everyone!

ciao, Roland


Here’s another video, perhaps a week later
You can hear my wife talking, and Kangnian saying that last session I couldn’t do chicken wings. I still don’t know if this comes across as anything significant… but it certainly is.
Enjoy, ciao, Roland


Sorry, I can’t find the way to send a PM, but If ever you’d like to do a skype session, Simon, I’m more than keen. Skype is nearly set up downstairs ; my nickname is pandoraefretum - Let me know if you’d like a chat.

Ciao, ciao, Roland

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Sorry, it’s off topic. But I can’t resist sharing.
Here’s a silly clip, saying how much I wanted to go home


What acronym ? I’m confused U mean BDNF ? = brain derived neurotrophic factor , it’s something the brain releases after a stroke. Well documented.

Yes, 10 day delay is paramount. I can explain more

Yes the hard wiring of the brain must happen ASAP. There are many reasons, but the brain is more maleable at that time (thx to BDNF as described in the book “Stronger after Stroke”)

Pace = daily practise / then supervised sessions with new movements initiated every other day (three times a week )

I need to make these things clearer for my book ( it has reached 32,000 words), ciao, Roland


Roland - amazing clips showing your progress. Thank you so much for sharing. Janet


Lots of hand and wrist movements in there That I can’t do at the moment after 3 years!

As for Skype I deleted that years ago ! but zoom, Google meets, all sorts of other ways to video conference :slight_smile:

I’m definitely up for something next week :slight_smile:


Thanks for following…
The most fascinating clips are the ones with the first effort at trying to move
Somehow I cannot believe I am now practising the piano (easy piece) to start with

ciao, Roland


OK, Simon, I’ll try and install Zoom so we can chat

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You don’t need to install anything a browser will do

Do you want to name a time and I’ll send you a link

Monday Tuesday or Thursday afternoon work

actually we can use
We just have to agree a time when we’ll both be on the same link :slight_smile:


One more clip ; this is how much I could move my arm 2 days after my stroke


Just a browser sounds easy enough ; Monday at 4pm ? I won’t change it, even if the in-laws from Italy are here for a week. I am a little uncertain about how to connect… I have a webcamera with mic that I will just need to plug in, but I’ll be at my PC. I have whatsapp, and facebook too, both likely to be in my name, Roland Herrera


You can change at any time - I’m entirely easy/ relaxed :sunglasses:
As long as your browser can access camera & mic you’ll be fine

4pm is fine

Since the link I sent is set up to be liberal you can test in advance :slight_smile:



Great thread!

Chinese medicine is fascinating.

I am trying to understand everything here you’re doing. I’ve never head of remapping.

Have you ever heard of a flexbar? You can buy them on Amazon. My mother was eventually able to use the green one. I think you could maybe do the red one. Once she mastered that, she said her hand was 80-90% back. I do remember my mother dropping things from her affected hand for the first several months. But that resolved itself in 6-8 months or so, especially heavier objects. Towards the end of her life, she was able to pick up a heavy glass cup full of milk with her affected hand with zero problems.

Your hand will get better. It’s just going to take time, because at your stage, progress is a bit slower. But every drop in the bucket counts, and, eventually, adds up to a full bucket of water.

Keep us updated.

Take care.


Matthew, hi again,

My arm is way more recovered than you estimate. The green Flexbar is no problem for me … I also have the red one. I can reach up vertically to the ceiling, and I practice the piano, draw and put records on with my right hand. Mobility is 100% Strength is 50% and rising, sensitivity, proprioception, feeling is 15%. I assembled an LP cabinet (ikea sort of job) the other day. The credit goes to my Chinese Dr. who remapped my arm. Basically my arm went from 5% mobility to 95% mobility in under a month. I also use another Chinese device, from Beijing, called the iTeracare wand. It helps.

I’ve dropped plenty of things, but not scratched 1 LP ( yet !!!)

Thanks for following, I welcome your interest.
I am sorry you lost your mother but you have great memories of her.
ciao, amigo, Roland


Fascinating, thank you for sharing :blush:
Regards Sue