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Effects of hippotherapy on posture in individuals with Down Syndrome

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Introduction: Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have alterations that affect the musculoskeletal system, causing abnormal patterns, and alter the morphological anatomical and mechanical axes that provide intrinsic stability to the skeleton, and can trigger misalignments and orthopedic disorders in adulthood. Objective: The objective of student to evaluate posture and postural alignment before and after the hippotherapyin individuals with DS. Methods: Posture of five individuals with DS was evaluated by the software SAPO before and after 27 sessions the hippotherapy. Data were subjected to qualitative descriptive analysis using cluster and statistical analysis with the aid of the software Sigma Stat 2.0, considering differences as statistically significant at p-value < 5%. Results: Improvements were achieved for the alignment of shoulder, head, hip, and lower limbs, in addition to decrease in kyphosis and head protrusion. Conclusion: Patients with DS demonstrated satisfactory changes in motor behavior reflected in improved static posture after treatment with hippotherapy.
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Fisioter Mov. 2016 July/Sept.;29(3):497-505
ISSN 0103-5150
Fisioter. Mov., Curitiba, v. 29, n. 3, p. 497-506, Jul./Set. 2016
Licenciado sob uma Licença Creative Commons
DOI: http://dx.doi.org.10.1590/1980-5918.029.003.AO07
[T]
Effects of hippotherapy on posture in
individuals with Down Syndrome
[I]
Efeitos da equoterapia na postura de
indivíduos com Síndrome de Down
[A]
Ana Paula Espindula, Mariane Fernandes Ribeiro, Luciane Aparecida Pascucci Sande de Souza,
Alex Abadio Ferreira, Mara Lúcia da Fonseca Ferraz, Vicente de Paula Antunes Teixeira*
Universidade Federal do Triângulo Mineiro, (UFTM), Uberaba, MG, Brazil
[R]
Abstract
Introduction: Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have alterations that affect the musculoskeletal system,
causing abnormal patterns, and alter the morphological anatomical and mechanical axes that provide intrinsic
stability to the skeleton, and can trigger misalignments and orthopedic disorders in adulthood. Objective: The
objective of student to evaluate posture and postural alignment before and after the hippotherapyin indivi-
duals with DS. Methods: Posture of ive individuals with DS was evaluated by the software SAPO before and
after 27 sessions the hippotherapy. Data were subjected to qualitative descriptive analysis using cluster and
statistical analysis with the aid of the software Sigma Stat 2.0, considering differences as statistically signii-
cant at p-value < 5%. Results: Improvements were achieved for the alignment of shoulder, head, hip, and lower
limbs, in addition to decrease in kyphosis and head protrusion. Conclusion: Patients with DS demonstrated
satisfactory changes in motor behavior relected in improved static posture after treatment with hippotherapy.
*APE: PhD, e-mail: anapaulaespindula@yahoo.com.br
MFR: Doctoral student, e-mail: maryanefernandes@yahoo.com.br
LAPSS: PhD, e-mail: lusande@gmail.com
AAF: BS, e-mail: alexabferreira@hotmail.com
MLFF: PhD, e-mail: mara@patge.uftm.edu.br
VPAT: PhD, e-mail: vicente@patge.uftm.edu.br
Fisioter Mov. 2016 July/Sept.;29(3):497-505
Espindula AP, Ribeiro MF, Souza LAPS, Ferreira AA, Ferraz MLF, Teixeira VPA.
498
Keywords: Equine-Assisted Therapy. Photogrammetry. Posture. Down Syndrome.
Resumo
Introdução: Indivíduos com síndrome de Down (SD) apresentam alterações que afetam o sistema muscu-
loesquelético, provocando padrões anormais e alterando os eixos anatômicos morfológicos e mecânicos que
proporcionam uma estabilidade intrínseca ao esqueleto, podendo desencadear desalinhamentos e alterações
ortopédicas na vida adulta. Objetivo: O objetivo desse estudo foi avaliar a o alinhamento postural antes e após
o tratamento equoterapêutico em indivíduos com SD. Métodos: Foram avaliados cinco indivíduos com SD por
meio do aplicativo SAPO de avaliação postural, antes e após vinte e sete sessões. Realizou-se a análise quali-
tativa descritiva por meio do Cluster e análise estatística utilizando o programa Sigma Stat 2.0, considerando
estatisticamente signiϔicativas as diferenças em que o valor p foi menor que 5%. Resultados: Foi possível veri-
ϔicar melhoras no alinhamento de ombro, de cabeça, de quadril e membros inferiores, bem como diminuição
da cifose e da protrusão de cabeça. Conclusão: Os indivíduos com SD apresentaram mudanças satisfatórias no
comportamento motor que reϔletiram em uma melhora da postura estática após o tratamento na equoterapia.
Palavras-chave: Terapia assistida por cavalos. Fotogrametria. Postura. Síndrome de Down.
Introduction
Down syndrome (DS) is the most common and
well-known chromosomal abnormalities, and is
considered one of the most frequent abnormali-
ties of autosomal chromosomes (1). Formerly
known as mongolism, it was first described by
the English physician John Langdon Down, in 1866
(2). The association of DS with chromosomal al-
teration was suspected in 1930, and the trisomy
21 (3) was confirmed after about 30 years by in-
dependent research.
In general, most individuals with DS has mus-
cle hypotonia caused by decreased segmental
excitability of motor neurons and by impaired
stretch reflex, generating a decreased sensorim-
otor control. This causes a slow or ineffective
muscle contraction (4). Postural changes in DS
may occur due to the difficulty of perception of
postural responses, which impairs the feeling of
the movement correctly (5).
Thus, muscle activation through activities in
children with DS using postural correction tech-
niques helps to reduce the physical impairment
(6). Hippotherapy is a physical treatment strategy,
in which the horse movement promotes physical
and psychological improvements in the overall
development of people with or without mobil-
ity problems, and is considered a multisensory
technique for treating diseases or syndromes with
physical or neurological impairments(7). The rid-
ing position held by the individual, combined with
the movement produced by the horse stride, re-
quires postural adjustments and dissociation of
the pelvic and shoulder girdles, causing reactions
of trunk rectificationand tonic adjustmentsthat
dynamically search for postural stability and
control(8,9).
There are reports in the literature that the
rhythmic sway of the horse spine stimulates
postural reflexes of the hippotherapy patient/
practitioner, resulting in balance training and
postural and motor improvements (10). The
study of the horse’s movement, with its benefits
and effectiveness for individuals who use it
as a treatment, especially related to health, is
continually increasing (11).
In this way, hippotherapy represents a thera-
peutic approach to improve the postural align-
ment in DS children who usually present pos-
tural changes.
Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the posture
before and after hippotherapy treatment in indi-
viduals with DS.
Methods
This was a longitudinal observational study ap-
proved by the Research Ethics Committee of the
Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM),
protocol 1502 of 2010, and the assessment meth-
ods and intervention protocols followed the rules
of Resolution 196/96 of the National Health
Fisioter Mov. 2016 July/Sept.;29(3):497-505
Effects of hippotherapy on posture in individuals with Down Syndrome
499
Council on research involving human subjects. The
guardians of the individuals included in the study
gave written consent,claimed they understood the
purpose of this study and the procedures adopted.
Sample characterization
Previously, medical records of patients with diag-
nosis of DS attending APAE were analyzed to obtain
data such as age, sex and medications in use. For this
study, we selected only individuals who were starting
the practice of hippotherapy along with the proposed
study and were not undergoing conventional physi-
cal therapy.
All included participants engaged in psychological
treatment once a week in the APAE and did not use
controlled drug.
Exclusion criteria were: uncontrolled epilepsy,
self-destructive behavior or uncontrollable fear,
instability of the spine, hip or shoulder luxation,
scoliosis with deviation greater than or equal to
30 degrees and hydrocephalus with valve. The re-
search began with 20 individuals with DS, and at
the end, we considered 5 subjects, according to the
organization chart (Figure 1) with a mean of 12.6
years (± 3.21).
Figure 1 - Representative organization chart of the grounds for ex-
clusion and withdrawal of subjects with Down syndrome.
Procedures
The sessions and the tests were performed at the
Therapeutic Riding Center of APAE, containing roofed
area, different textured-loors (dirt track, grass, gravel
and cemented), stalls, saddlery and access ramp for
practitioners. Sessions (n = 27) lasted 30 minutes
each, once a week. Postural assessment was per-
formed before the 1st session (1stassessment/initial)
and after 27 sessions (2ndassessment/inal).
It was set a routesequence for the 30-minute ses-
sion based on what is used in clinical practice: Time
1 (T1) up to 7 min and 30 s on dirt trackon the right
direction of the arena; Time 2 (T2) from 7 min 30 s to
15 min on grass, straight; Time 3 (T3) from 15 min to
22min and 30 soncemented gravel ground, straight;
Time 4 (T4) from 22min 30 sto 30 min on dirt track
on the left direction of the arena.
During hippotherapy sessions,no activity or ex-
tra exercise was performed, being transmitted to the
patient only the three-dimensional motion provided
by the horse.
Postural Assessment
Posture of participants was assessed by the soft-
ware SAPO that, from digitized photographs, mea-
sures the linear position, angular position, length and
body alignment (12). Photogrammetric analysis with
this software is an appropriate qualitative and reli-
able method for children and adults(13).
A plumb line hanging from the ceiling was placed
30 cm away from the individual. This line was marked
with two Styrofoam balls at a distance of 1 m from
each other, following the software recommendations,
to perform the vertical calibration of the images using
the application.
Data were collected using a digital camera Sony
Veiss Effective 7.2 MP Cyber-Shot, at a height of about
half of the individual’s height, 3 m from the child
and 3.5 m from the wall. After marking the points,
subjects were positioned at their natural posture
on pasteboard ixed to the ground 30 cm away from
the plumb line and their feet were marked on the
paper using a graphite, aiming to take photos with
the same support base amplitude and positioning of
the feet, thus preventing rotation of the trunk and
limbs. Photographs were obtained with individuals
in swimwear, standing erect in the views: front, rear,
left side and right side (Figure 2).
Fisioter Mov. 2016 July/Sept.;29(3):497-505
Espindula AP, Ribeiro MF, Souza LAPS, Ferreira AA, Ferraz MLF, Teixeira VPA.
500
Figure 2 - Position to take the photographs, in the views: (a) front,
(b) rear, (c) left side and (d) right side.
Photographs were transferred to the SAPO appli-
cation, calibrated with the vertical reference to 100%
visualization and analysis was made by means of
Styrofoam balls placed on the patient’s body, wherein
the following distances were evaluated: Front view: 1.
from the right acromion to the right anterior superior
iliac spine; 2. From the left acromion to the left an-
terior superior iliac spine; 3. from the right anterior
superior iliac spine to the right medial malleolus; 4.
from the left anterior superior iliac spine to the left
medial malleolus.Rear view: 5. from the right acromi-
on to the right posterior superior iliac spine; 6. from
the left acromion to the leftposterior superior iliac
spine; 7. from the right posterior superior iliac spine
to the right medial malleolus; 8. from the leftposte-
rior superior iliac spine to the left medial malleolus;
9. from the inferior angle of the right scapula to the
inferior angle of the left scapula.Right Side view: 10.
from the acromion to the sternal manubrium; 11.
from the acromion to the mentus. Left Side view: 12
from the acromion to the sternal manubrium; 13.
from the acromion to the mentus.
For data normalization, we measured the forearm
length of each patient at the beginning and the end
of treatment and the distances obtained by the soft-
ware were divided by this value (14). Images were
analyzed by three different examiners.
Horses and riding equipment
Two horses trained for hippotherapy were used,
one of the Arabianbreed and the other Quarter with
Persian breed, aged 8 and 9 years and 1.54 m and
1.48 m height, respectively. Horses were randomized
selected for the sessions and showed docile behavior,
obedience to the voice, indifference to unknown ob-
jects and noises, they leaned against on the ramp for
riding, were fond of children and accepted all kinds of
harnesses. For this study, we used the horse step gait.
In relation tothe riding equipment,it was used a
blanket with feet of the subjects out of the stirrup, as
it has been observed that in this condition there is an
increased activation of the muscles of the neck (upper
ibers of the trapezius), thorax (paraspinal), lumbar
(multiidus) and abdominal (rectus abdominis) for 30
min session in children with DS (15). As safety proce-
dures regarding the use of appropriate clothing and
helmets, it was followed the guidelines of ANDE-Brazil.
Statistical analysis
Data statistically analyzed consisted of distance
measurements determined previously, comparing the
data before and after hippotherapy sessions.
Fisioter Mov. 2016 July/Sept.;29(3):497-505
Effects of hippotherapy on posture in individuals with Down Syndrome
501
view, there was no signiicant difference in the as-
sessed distances.
Figure 3a - Hierarchical Cluster analysis of individuals with Down
syndrome before hippotherapy sessions, considering the following
variables that indicate the distances between: 1. the right acromion
and the right anterior superior iliac spine; 2. the left acromion and
the left anterior superior iliac spine; 3. the right anterior superior
iliac spine and the right medial malleolus; 4. the left anterior supe-
rior iliac spine and the left medial malleolus; 5. the right acromion
and the right posterior superior iliac spine; 6. the left acromion and
the left posterior superior iliac spine; 7. the right posterior superior
iliac spine and the right medial malleolus; 8. the left posterior supe-
rior iliac spine and the left medial malleolus; 9. the inferior angle of
the right scapula and the inferior angle of the left scapula; 10. the
right acromium and the manubrium; 11. the right acromium and
the mentus; 12. the left acromium and the manubrium; 13. the left
acromium and the mentus.
Figure 3b - Hierarchical Cluster analysis of individuals with Down
syndrome after 27 sessions of hippotherapy, considering the follow-
ing variables that indicate the distances between: 1. the right acro-
mion and the right anterior superior iliac spine; 2. the left acromion
and the left anterior superior iliac spine; 3. the right anterior superior
iliac spine and the right medial malleolus; 4. the left anterior supe-
Data normality was checked with the Shapiro-
Wilk test and homogeneity of variances with the
Bartlett test. For comparisons data before and after
hippotherapy sessions, we used the t-test. Data were
analyzed using Sigma-Stat
®
2.0. Differences were con-
sidered statistically signiicant when the p-value was
less than 5%.
Also, the cluster analysis was applied for group-
ing different variables according to their similarity.
Through this analysis, the groups are obtained by
hierarchical clustering algorithm, making automatic
grouping of data according to their similarity and
representing the clusters in a dendrogram (repre-
sentation of a hierarchy as a tree) (14).
Results
There was a good grouping, after the sessions, of
the distances: from the right acromion to the right
anterior superior iliac spine (var 1) and from the
left acromion to the left anterior superior iliac spine
(var 2) (Figures 3a and 3b). This inding was also
conirmed by statistical analysis, represented in the
right hemibody (p = 0.0005) (Table 1a). The distance
between the right anterior superior iliac spine and
the right medial malleolus (var 3) was grouped with
the distance from the left anterior superior iliac spine
to the left medial malleolus (var 4) (Figures 3a and
3b), conirmed by statistical analysis (p = 0.0384)
(Table 1a). In the evaluation of the distances from
the right acromion and the right posterior superior
iliac spine (var 5) to the left acromion and the left
posterior superior iliac spine (var 6), treatment pro-
moted approximation of variables (Figures 3a and
3b). After the sessions, the analysis revealed a close
grouping with smaller distance between variables
7 and 8 (Figures 3a and 3b), validated by statistical
analysis, in the evaluation of the rear view of the right
posteriorsuperior iliac spine to the right medial mal-
leolus (p = 0.0001) (Table 1b).
After treatment, the variable 10 became closer to
variable 12 (Figure 3b), with p = 0.0306 (Table 2).
There was also signiicance of the right acromion to
mentus, p = 0.0270 (Table 2).
The grouping of variables11 and 13 showed the
best linkage with a shorter distance after the pro-
posed treatment (Figures 3a and 3b). The statistical
analysis evidenced that this deviation was present
in the right side of the body, because in the left side
Fisioter Mov. 2016 July/Sept.;29(3):497-505
Espindula AP, Ribeiro MF, Souza LAPS, Ferreira AA, Ferraz MLF, Teixeira VPA.
502
rior iliac spine and the left medial malleolus; 5. the right acromion
and the right posterior superior iliac spine; 6. the left acromion and
the left posterior superior iliac spine; 7. the right posterior superior
iliac spine and the right medial malleolus; 8. the left posterior supe-
rior iliac spine and the left medial malleolus; 9. the inferior angle of
Table 1a - Postural analysis. Front view
Group (n=5) Bone
reference
Acromium to
EIAS/D (cm)
Acromium to
EIAS/E (cm)
EIAS/D to
MM/D (cm)
EIAS/E to
MM/E (cm)
Before Mean 0.24 0.46 0.44 0.23
± SEM 0.01 0.03 0.07 0.02
After Mean 0.5 0.49 0.28 0.28
± SEM 0.02 0.021 0.003 0.003
p - value *p = 0.0005 p = 0.3766 p = 0.1126 *p = 0.0384
Table 1b - Postural analysis. Rear view
Group (n=5) Bone
reference
Acromium to
EIPS/D (cm)
Acromium to
EIPS/E (cm)
EIPS/D to
MM/D (cm)
EIPS/E to
MM/E (cm)
AIE/D to
AIE/E (cm)
Before Mean 0.46 0.44 0.23 0.35 0.95
± SEM 0.03 0.07 0.02 0.1 0.08
After Mean 0.52 0.52 0.52 0.26 1.08
± SEM 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.004 0.11
p - value p = 0.0820 p = 0.2577 *p = 0.0001 p = 0.4640 p = 0.4899
Note 1a and 1b: Statistical tests: t-test *p < 0.05; Standard error of the mean (± SEM); Distance from the acromium to the right anterior
superior iliac spine (Acromium to (EIAS/D); Distance from the acromium to the left anterior superior iliac spine (Acromium to EIAS/E);
Distance from the right anterior superior iliac spine to the right medial malleolus (EIAS/D to MM/D); Distance from the left anterior superior
iliac spine to the left medial malleolus (EIAS/E to MM/E); Distance from the acromium to the right posterior superior iliac spine (Acromium
to EIPS/D); Distance from the acromium to the left posterior superior iliac spine (Acromium to EIPS/E); Distance from the right posterior
superior iliac spine to the right medial malleolus (EIPS/D to MM/D; Distance from the left posterior superior iliac spine to the left medial
malleolus (EIPS/E to MM/E); Distance from the inferior angle of the right scapula to the inferior angle of the left scapula (AIE/D to AIE/E).
Table 2 - Postural analysis (Right side view)
Group (n=5) Acromium/D to MN (cm) Acromium/D to MT (cm)
Before Mean 2.23 1.31
± SEM 0.08 0.09
After Mean 3.63 1.67
± SEM 0.44 0.15
p-value 0.0306 0.0270
Note: Standard error of the mean (± SEM); distance from the right acromium to the manubrium (Acromium/D to MN); distance from the
right acromium to the mentus (Acromium/D to MT).
the right scapula and the inferior angle of the left scapula; 10. the
right acromium and the manubrium; 11. the right acromium and
the mentus; 12. the left acromium and the manubrium; 13. the left
acromium and the mentus.
Fisioter Mov. 2016 July/Sept.;29(3):497-505
Effects of hippotherapy on posture in individuals with Down Syndrome
503
in balance and increased range of motion (18,
19). A study that evaluated the trunk alignment in
sitting position, using hippotherapy as treatment,
showed symmetry in the pelvis weight transfer, fur-
ther dissociation of pelvic girdle and cervical align-
ment (20). Other investigations report that the sen-
sorimotor stimuli applied to the individual sitting on
the horse generate greater muscle activation of the
extensor muscle groups of the spine and muscle tone
normalization for triggering biomechanical adjust-
ments, facilitating postural control (21,22,23). These
data corroborate our indings, which demonstrated
that the stimuli provided by hippotherapy contribute
to a better alignment of biomechanical structures,
especially in shoulder and hip alignment and tho-
racic kyphosis.
Additionally, changes in horse gait speed generate
responses of straightening corporal and balance, al-
lowing the development of dynamic postural stability
and postural control (11,24). On the other hand, even
not using changes in horse gait speed during the hip-
potherapy sessions in this study, there was postural
improvements in individuals with DS. Medical litera-
ture reports that when the practitioner is respond-
ing to horse movements, he/she should keep his/her
head and torso on the support base to stabilize the
vision and coordinate postural muscle synergies.The
quantiication of postural control allowed to mea-
sure changes during the treatment; in this way, the
intervention with hippotherapy for children with DS
improved their motor performance in fundamental
motor skills (walking, running, and jumping); these
improvements that may be related to the fact that
the intervention staff maximizes time on the moving
horse to allow children to respond to stimuli on an
almost continuous basis. (25, 26, 27).
The study of Grazziotin found an improved pos-
ture, more aligned shoulders, neck along aless an-
terior trunk and more upright posture after 27 ses-
sions of hippotherapy (28). Further elucidating the
beneicial effects of such treatment, it was possible
to show a postural adjustment in individuals with
Down syndrome in this study, after 27 sessions of
hippotherapy with horse at step gait and at a con-
stant speed. It is noteworthy that treatments target-
ing balance problems in individuals with DS should
be performed focusing on assisting children in the
development and reinement of postural synergies,
enhancing motor coordination, the spatiotemporal
relationship between various muscle groups working
Discussion
The results of the present study, whose goal was
to evaluate posture before and after hippotherapy,
indicated favorable changesin postural alignment.
There is a high incidence of postural changes in
children at school age, which can be corrected natu-
rally during the growth (16). However, this approach
is different in children with DS, who often show hypo-
tonia, ligamentous laxity and muscle weakness, which
are some of the changes affecting the musculoskeletal
system thatlead to a delay in motor development and
can contribute to a subsequent postural misalign-
ment. These changes also promote the acquisition
of abnormal patterns and changes in anatomical,
morphological and mechanical axes, which provide
an intrinsic stability to the skeleton, potentially trig-
gering misalignments and orthopedic disorders in
adulthood(17). In this study, individuals exhibited
postural deviations evidenced by the difference in
distance values and a smaller grouping of variables
in the cluster analysis. According to the results, there
was a high correlation within clusters indicating the
distances analyzed after treatment, also statistically
signiicant for many of the variables. Since the pre-
sentation of data in hierarchical clustering indicates
a grouping of data with similar characteristics(14),
this high correlation indicates a minor deviation of
the measured distances, and therefore, less postural
deviation; the right and left sides of the body of these
childrenshowed a better alignment with each other,
provided by hippotherapy. Thus, our results suggest
improvements in shoulder alignment, assessed by the
distance from the acromion to the anterior superior
iliac spine, both on the right and on the left. It was
also found an improvement in the alignment of the
hip and lower limbs, measured by the variables that
indicate the distance between the anterior superior
iliac spine and the medial malleolus, on both sides.
The distance between the right acromion and the
manubrium demonstrated a better grouping with the
distance from the left acromion to the manubrium,
suggesting a decrease in kyphosis. In addition, there
was a smaller protrusion and head alignment, evalu-
ated by the grouping of the variables that indicate
the distance between the right acromion and the
mentus with the distance from the left acromion to
the mentus.
Studies in the literature report that the effects af-
ter practice of hippotherapy included improvement
Fisioter Mov. 2016 July/Sept.;29(3):497-505
Espindula AP, Ribeiro MF, Souza LAPS, Ferreira AA, Ferraz MLF, Teixeira VPA.
504
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together, thereby improving the processes respon-
sible for adjusting the posture(29). Hippotherapy
has become widespread as a therapeutic agent
justiied by its goals of stimulating the individual
as a whole, favoring the neuromotor functions.
Nevertheless,hippotherapy collaborates in the active
rehabilitation process of the individual participating
in his/her growth and development (30).
Some limitations of this study involve the under-
standing of some children in standing still when pho-
tographed and the low number of subjects at the end
of the study. However, the indings support the con-
clusion that the stimulus provided by the hippother-
apy caused favorable changes in postural alignment.
Conclusion
By means of photogrammetry, before and after
hippotherapy sessions, it is concluded that individu-
als with DS included in this study showed satisfactory
changes in motor behavior. Such changes relected in
an improvement in static posture, better alignment of
shoulders, head, hip, lower limbs, decreased kyphosis
and head protrusion. It is therefore suggested that
hippotherapy can improve the posture of subjects
with DS. Nonetheless, the complexity of composing
a representative group of individuals with DS, appro-
priate for the study proposed prevents the assertion
that hippotherapy improves posture of subjects with
DS. Otherwiseour indings can strengthen the indica-
tion found in the literature on the use of hippotherapy
as a potential intervention for people with DS and
postural changes.
Acknowledgements
The authors thank the inancial support for this re-
search provided by National Council for Scientiic and
Technological Development (CNPq), Coordination for
the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel
(CAPES), Minas Gerais State Research Foundation
(FAPEMIG), Education and Research Foundation of
Uberaba (FUNEPU) and Association of Parents and
Friends of Intellectually Disabled Children of Uberaba
(APAE).
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... In the context of rehabilitation programs for people with ID, researchers from several countries have recognized, in their studies, the horse's capabilities as a therapeutic tool. The horse's attributes have contributed to the improvement of the quality of life of people with ID in terms of attention, interaction, communication, posture, balance, motor coordination and selfconfidence [1,2]. ...
... In hippotherapy, the sessions are supervised by a therapist with specific training in the area, and the focus of intervention is in the neuromuscular rehabilitation of people with a disability (development of posture, balance, functionality and mobility) [3]. In relation to the horse, only the step is used in the rehabilitation process, since it is a three-dimensional, rhythmic, repetitive, and smooth movement [1,2,4]. This movement produces multisensory input in the people and facilitates the development of adaptive responses to the environment, through the dissociation of pelvic movements and the shoulder girdle and the development of balance, postural control [1,2,3,4,5] and motor coordination [6]. ...
... In relation to the horse, only the step is used in the rehabilitation process, since it is a three-dimensional, rhythmic, repetitive, and smooth movement [1,2,4]. This movement produces multisensory input in the people and facilitates the development of adaptive responses to the environment, through the dissociation of pelvic movements and the shoulder girdle and the development of balance, postural control [1,2,3,4,5] and motor coordination [6]. ...
... More diverse participants became apparent over time. Namely, diagnostic descriptors reported in three or more studies included Down syndrome and multiple sclerosis (8 studies each, 10%); autism spectrum disorder (6 studies, 8%); intellectual disability (five studies, 6%); and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral vascular accident, or traumatic [44] Brazil "HPOT is a physical treatment strategy, in which the horse movement promotes physical and psychological improvements in the overall development of people with or without mobility problems, and is considered a multi-sensory technique for treating diseases or symptoms with physical or neurological impairments" (p. 498) Hsieh (2016) [101] Taiwan "HPOT is based on the concept that the individual, variable gait, tempo, rhythm, repetition, cadence of a horse's movement can influence human neuromuscular development" (p. ...
... Among 23 studies conducted in the United States or Canada, only two (9%) neither integrated physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language therapy in definitions of hippotherapy nor identified a member of these groups as providers [38,39]. In comparison, among 12 studies conducted in Brazil, seven (58%) did not recognize these professions or their members as providers [31,34,[40][41][42][43][44]. Variations in providers were also evident in studies with participants with emotional difficulties, trauma, or mental illness [38,45,46]. ...
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Purpose: Comprehensively and systematically map peer-reviewed studies of hippotherapy published over 30 years, from 1980 through 2018, from the perspective of a phased scientific approach to developing complex interventions as a guide to future research and practice. Methods: A systematic mapping review of research of hippotherapy was conducted. Searches of nine databases produced 3,528 unique records; 78 full-text, English-written studies were reviewed, the earliest of which was published in 1998. Data relevant to study aims were extracted electronically from these studies and analyzed using queries and pivot tables. Results: Children with cerebral palsy and physical therapists were most prevalent as participants and providers. Equine movement was hippotherapy’s core component and mechanism. Early-phase outcomes-oriented research predominated. “Hippotherapy” was ambiguously defined as treatment strategies and comprehensive professional services, even as interventions grew more distinctive and complex. A treatment theory and proof of concept related to motor outcomes were established, and efficacy research with comparison conditions emerged. Conclusions: Continuing research of complex interventions that integrate hippotherapy, equine movement as a therapy tool, is warranted. Attention to gaps in foundational scientific work concurrent with continued piloting and efficacy work will help to identify the most promising interventions worthy of replication, evaluation and widespread adoption. • IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION • To advance the evidence base of complex interventions that incorporate hippotherapy: • •Proponents of hippotherapy need to define and represent hippotherapy to the public and in practice and research contexts as a therapy tool involving the use of the movement of horses by qualified professionals, rather than simply as a generic therapy with the help of a horse or simulated horse; • •Providers of hippotherapy need to identify their professional degrees and certifications, and explicate their disciplinary perspectives that influence their selected components of intervention, related methods, and outcomes; and • •Providers and researchers need to partner to develop an enablement theory of hippotherapy that links improved body functions with improved participation in everyday life and quality of life.
... Medical literature provides information on the effectiveness of equine assisted services in relation to several conditions such as cerebral palsy (Casady and Nichols-Larsen, 2004;da Silva et al., 2015), autism spectrum disorder (Gabriels et al., 2015), meningoencephalocele (Sanches 2010) and Down syndrome (Espindula et al., 2016). However, scarce information is currently available on visual impairment (VI). ...
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This study investigated the influence on pelvic mobility in children with cerebral palsy of a mechanical saddle (BABS) with imitates the movement of a horse at walk. Using a matched pairs design, subjects were selected and matched into 13 pairs. Subjects sat on either the BABS or a static saddle ten times for ten minutes over four weeks. Passive pelvic movement was measured from photographs taken at end range of passive anterior and then posterior pelvic tilt, before and after the trial.Using a related t-test a significant increase in passive pelvic antero-posterior tilt was found with subjects who used the BABS. The astride position may have influenced pelvic movement as some of the subjects on the static saddle showed an increase in range; but the significant difference between the two groups was attributed to the BABS movement.Facilitation of more normal postural tone, more appropriate reciprocal innervation and possible increased soft tissue extensibility are likely to have facilitated the increase in passive pelvic movement.These results indicate that the movement of a horse at walk can facilitate pelvic movement; the BABS and conventional horse riding are valuable tools in the physiotherapy treatment of children with cerebral palsy.