The Hanger Reflex: An Inexpensive and Non-invasive Therapeutic Modality for Dystonia and Neurological Disorders

Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2020 Nov 15;60(11):525-530. doi: 10.2176/nmc.ra.2020-0156. Epub 2020 Oct 16.


The hanger reflex is a phenomenon characterized by the involuntary rotation of the head when a wire hanger is worn around the head such that a force is applied to the frontal temporal area by the longer side of the hanger. The application of a shearing force on the skin is thought to be the cause of this phenomenon. Attempts have been made to treat cervical dystonia using equipment designed to induce the hanger reflex. This reflex may have implications in the treatment of headaches, cervical pain, and adhesive capsulitis. The hanger reflex is seen not only in the head region but is also in other parts of the body. Thus, it could be used in the treatment of systemic dystonias. The hanger reflex may help develop inexpensive and non-invasive treatment for dystonia or other neurological diseases and is expected to be the focus of research in the future.

Keywords: chronic headache; dystonia; shoulder stiffness; torticollis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Reflex, Abnormal*
  • Torticollis / diagnosis*
  • Torticollis / therapy*