Keith Hall is hoping a new form of treatment will help thousands of people with strokes and multiple sclerosis.

He is bringing a new type of treatment called Intention Myofeedback Therapy (IMF Therapy) over from the Continent where it has been a major success in the treatment of people with nerve damage.

The therapy involves the use of a machine which helps improve the neural links between the brain and the affected part of the body and stimulate movement.

Mr Hall, a movement therapist, says the noninvasive treatment is simple but effective and hopes it will help transform some people's lives.

He said: "It may not work for everyone but the results I have seen have been very impressive."

Mr Hall first witnessed the therapy in action while on a visit to Germany where he met Ulrich Schmidt, the man who developed the treatment.

He was trained to use the machine and to show patients what to do and is now hoping it will be successful in this country.

When a person visualises or imagines making a movement, tiny voltages are produced along nerves towards that part of the body, even when the main motor nerves are not working.

IMF involves sensing these micro-voltages with conventional, skin-contact electrodes, then using them to trigger larger voltages in pads attached to the appropriate muscles.

This can produce the actual movement. By following a particular regime for a given movement, this approach helps the patient learn and develop new neural routes so they can re-establish control of the muscles.

IMF has been found effective not only for recent stroke cases but also for patients who have suffered attacks a long time before.

Alan Glassman, from Hove, has been trying out the machine and is amazed at the results so far.

Mr Glassman suffered a stroke on Christmas Day in 1997 which left him with a paralysed arm and unable to walk properly.

He had to learn how to talk again and cope with day-to-day tasks most people take for granted.

He has made good progress over the years but is still unable to use his arm.

He said: "My life turned upside down in 60 seconds. As well as physical problems, there were emotional and practical problems to consider.

"I am now doing well and have managed to get back to playing backgammon and scrabble and I use the internet a lot."

Mr Glassman also goes swimming regularly.

"When I tried the machine, I was amazed. I have had no movement in my hand or fingers for many years. Yet, after only a couple of sessions, I could feel a sensation in my fingers and could move them a little.

"It is only at the early stages at the moment but things are looking very good. I think this machine is going to be able to help a lot of people."

Mr Hall said it was important for patients to be ready to concentrate hard and be motivated.

He said: "The patient has to have a lot of focus and concentration for the machine to help but, once the results start showing, it is usually easier for them to continue."

The machine is not suitable for everyone. It can treat nerve damage of any kind, including some spinal problems, but cannot work in cases where the nerves are severed.

It is also not recommended for people with pacemakers, those who are pregnant or have thrombosis.

Mr Hall said: "About 8,000 people have already benefited from IMF therapy in Germany and Spain.

"More than 500 devices are in use in Germany, with more than 100 physiotherapists using the system.

"Some people respond immediately to the treatment and 80 per cent within weeks not months. I am hoping we can start to help similar numbers over here."

Mr Hall is planning to hold workshops in Sussex where people can see demonstrations of the machine and learn more about how it works.

For further details, call Re-Flex Therapeutics, which is based in Peacehaven, on 01273 581358.