Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

Department

Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Peggy Mohr

Keywords

Cerrebral Palsy -- therapy; Hippotherapy

Abstract

Hippotherapy programs have grown rapidly since 1969, when the first center opened in the United States. Despite the growing enthusiasm for hippotherapy in North America, research regarding the efficacy of hippotherapy is not well documented. Literature that pertains to the therapeutic benefits of hippotherapy consists primarily of descriptive articles containing subjective reports of riding instructors, riders, parents, and therapists. Hippotherapy is proposed to develop neuromuscular control, facilitate posture, elicit righting and equilibrium reactions, provide vestibular input, and improve psychological wellbeing. While these descriptive articles have identified variables to be empirically studied, few investigators have documented the therapeutic effects of hippotherapy. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a significant improvement in the sitting balance of children with cerebral palsy (CP) after sessions of hippotherapy.

Six children participated in a six-week study, undergoing assessment with a repeated measures design. Results indicated that sitting balance was not significantly improved. Further study is needed to establish the effectiveness of hippotherapy.

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