is the Greek word for horse. Loosely translated it is therapy with the
help of the horse. More specifically Hippotherapy refers to the movement
of the horse.
three dimensional pelvic movement of the horse at the walk is similar
to the movement of the human pelvis during walking. The sensory/ motor
input from the horse's pelvis sends impulses to the central nervous
system of the patient.
In a patient's physical therapy treatment when 20 - 30 minutes incorporates the treatment strategy of Hippotherapy,
the movement of the horse ), the patient receives more then 3,000
impulses to the central nervous system. These impulses are received by
all the systems in the human body. The central nervous system integrates
this information and new motor pathways are formed. MRI studies
conducted in the late 1990's by Dr Bluestone displayed increased
activity in the cerebral cortex and the motor and vestibular cortex
following a physical therapy treatment incorporating Hippotherapy.
A physical therapist may integrate this treatment strategy along with other treatment strategies into a patient's Plan of Care as per the initial evaluation to address functional outcomes.
Patients from 2 years old and up are able to benefit when hippotherapy is part of a Plan of Care to treat developmental delays and neuromotor or musculoskeletal impairments.
as a treatment strategy is recognized by the APTA and AOTA, ASHA
as within the scope of practice and considered a physical therapy,
occupational therapy or speech therapy treatment intervention in a plan of care for patients.