What is Hippotherapy?
Hippotherapy is a form of rehabilitation with the help of horses. Sometimes referred to as horse therapy. The word “hippo” in hypotherapy comes from Greek and means horse. The word “therapy”, as it is known, means treatment.
Why Is Hippotherapy Used?
Horse therapy is used in the treatment of functional disorders in individuals, especially children. The reason why horses are used in treatment is the rhythmic and precisely repetitive gait of the horse. The movement performed by individuals on a horse is bilateral and symmetrical. As the horse continues walking, the treatment of the individual continues.
Which Horses Should Be Preferred In Hypotherapy?
There are no restrictions on the breeds of horses. The important thing is to prefer trained, calm, mature and healthy horses considering the needs of the patient. Horses should be walked in gentle steps while walking. Horses must be familiar with the therapy venue. The start of horses can cause undesirable situations.
Can Hippotherapy Be Performed With Only The Therapist?
Hippotherapy is a team work and cannot be performed with a physiotherapist alone. Team members consist of a specialist physiotherapist, horse keeper and sidekeeper.
Physiotherapist: It is the brain of the team. Decides on the appropriate horse – together with the horse holder. Gives commands to the patient and other team members and leads the team.
Horse holder: Holds the horse and helps to avoid sudden movements. It adjusts the speed of the horse with the command of the physiotherapist.
Supporter: He prepares the horse for treatment, prepares the equipment, is alert next to the horse during therapy and helps when necessary.
Structure of Horses
Horses walk is similar to human mechanics. In a way, this is the main reason for therapy with horses. Horses are also emotionally similar to humans. There is also affinity in the gene map.
What Are the Benefits of Hypotherapy?
- Horse’s gait simulates human gait and provides sensory gait input
- Provides mobility (movement) in the pelvis (hip) and spine
- Normalizes muscle tone
- Improves posture control of the head and trunk
- Improves fitness, symmetry and body awareness
Cognitive, social and emotional benefits:
• It gives self-esteem.
• Gives self-confidence.
• Provides group interaction.
• Increases concentration and prolongs attention span.
• Improves communication.
For which diseases can hippotherapy be used? (Indications)
- Cerebrovascular events
- Cerebral palsy
- Traumatic brain injury
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Limb deformity
- Spinal deformity
- Muscular dystrophy
- Apart from these, non-specific; diagnoses such as sensory integration deficiencies, poor gross motor skills, poor balance skills, decreased motor planning, and lack of proprioception
In what situations is it forbidden to apply? (Contraindications)
- Uncontrolled seizures
- Lack of head control
- Acute arthritis
- Moderate agitation
- Pathological fractures
- Severe osteoporosis
- MS attacks
- Open pressure sores
- Heavy drug dosages
- Osteoarthritis in the hip
- Cervical spondylolisthesis
- Acute hernia
- Structural scoliosis and excessive kyphosis or lordosis