Relief from intractable phantom pain by combining psilocybin and mirror visual-feedback (MVF)

Neurocase. 2018 Apr;24(2):105-110. doi: 10.1080/13554794.2018.1468469. Epub 2018 May 15.


AL's leg was amputated resulting in phantom-limb pain (PLP). (1) When a volunteer placed her foot on or near the phantom - touching it evoked organized sensations in corresponding locations on AL's phantom. (2) Mirror-visual-feedback (MVF) relieved PLP, as did, "phantom massage". (3) Psilocybin-MVF pairing produced synergistic effects, complete elimination of PLP, and reduction in paroxysmal episodes. (4) Touching the volunteer's leg where AL previously had external fixators, evoked sensation of nails boring through the leg. Using a "telescoping" nail, we created the illusion of a nail being removed with corresponding pain relief. (5) Artificial flames produced warmth in the phantom.

Keywords: Phantom limb pain; illusions; mirror neurons; mirror therapy; psilocybin.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Feedback, Sensory*
  • Hallucinogens / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / pathology
  • Male
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Phantom Limb / therapy*
  • Psilocybin / therapeutic use*
  • Touch Perception / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hallucinogens
  • Psilocybin