Hippotherapy is an occupational, speech and physical therapy treatment approach that employs equine movement. This therapy is used as a part of an integrated program in order to get functional outcomes.
In hippotherapy, you need to engage yourself in activities on the horse, which are challenging and also enjoyable.
In a very controlled environment, your therapist modifies the horse’s movement and with awareness evaluates the sensory input.
Various benefits of hippotherapy:
In this therapy, there is no need to learn the particular riding skills, but rather you just need the specific foundation to improve your neurological conditions and sensory processing.
The horse riding offers you sensory input through various movements, which are rhythmic, repetitive and variable. The responses to the movements in you are very similar to the human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking.
The variability of the horse’s steps enables the practitioner to rank the degree of sensory input to you and then uses these movements along with other healing practices to get desired results. You will definitely enjoy the experience in a completely natural setting.
According to the therapists, hippotherapy is beneficial for variety of diseases like Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries, autism, developmental delays, brain injuries, language or learning disabilities.
These movements help in patients who are unable to walk earlier, or in case of stroke movements, and those who forgotten how to walk. Hippotherapy allow the patients to feel how it feels to walk. No machine can stimulate this type of effect.
Hippotherapy helps in various ways; among those motivation is the one. For example, when you take your kid on a horse, he/she needs to use gestural or verbal communication to tell that horse what they actually like to do. It is more motivating for the children in real life than in a hypothetical situation. Also, physical movements of the horse greatly help in improving the patient’s communication skills.
Medical disorders for which hippotherapy is recommended include:
- Down syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Functional spinal curvature
- Learning or language disabilities
- Sensory integrative dysfunction
- Developmental delay
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Cerebral vascular accident
- Multiple sclerosis
Hippotherapy help in improving gross motor skills, fine motor skills, behavioral and cognitive skills, speech and language abilities.
Hippotherapy as a speech and language therapy:
Most commonly, hippotherapy is taken along with physical therapy or hippotherapy as speech and language therapy as it is growing too rapidly. Hippotherapy along with sensory integration strategies help to facilitate successful communication skills. Sensory integration along with hippotherapy addresses the vestibular, tactile, auditory, proprioceptive, visual, and olfactory systems.