Hippotherapy for people with disabilities

by bszab1 on October 21, 2013 - 11:25pm

The article I read was about children with special needs participating in hippotherapy. Hippotherapy is when people use horses/ horse riding as their therapy. Horseback riding as rehabilitation is something that has been recognized since 1875 (Granados, Agís 2011). The treatment relies on the horse’s movement and the patient’s reaction to the movement. The reason that this method of physical therapy is known for being affective is because a horse’s walk closely resembles a human walking, so the rider goes though the same motions of walking, without using their legs. Hippotherapy has been used to treat children who have a wide range of disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, communication disorders, cerebrovascular accident stroke, developmental delay, Down syndrome, language disabilities, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (Granados, Agís 2011).

            The most important information that was presented in this article was the beneficial effects that the hippotherapy has on children with disabilities. Anabel Granados and Agís said that a physical benefit from hippotherapy was improved muscle symmetry. Using two middle aged women in the first study they found that a person who did the therapeutic treatment for eight minutes for twelve weeks, showed improved muscle symmetry. In the second study the test group consisted of six children with cerebral palsy. The patients preformed the same activities, but added another two minutes on to their riding time. At the end of this experiment, they concluded that the hippotherapy helped improve their abductor muscles during walking, but it also improved the effect of their motor skills. Granados and Agís also discovered that hippotherapy helps improve a person’s balance, muscle strength, and range of motion. The benefit of these three things will lead to the improvement of so much more. There were parallel results during this study as there was in the last one. Hippotherapy helped improve their posture, self-confidence, muscle tone, and sitting balance after being a part of a 10 week program. This test was completed twice a week with sixty minute sessions.  In conclusion, patients, no matter what age, that participate in hippotherapy will have numerous benefits to their therapy in as little as 10-12 weeks.

 

Granados, A., & Agís, I. (2011). Why Children With Special Needs Feel Better with Hippotherapy Sessions: A Conceptual Review.Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 17(3), 191-197. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0229

Comments

I have a history of horseback riding, and hopefully one day will get involved in Hippo-therapy. This post was very informative post and will help a lot of people understand how useful this type of therapy really is. It is an underused type of therapy that will be extremely helpful to many people of all ages. You did a good job of summing up what the study was about and what was found. I would show this to people if they wanted more information about what hippo-therapy is and how effectively it works.

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