The Benefits Of Hippotherapy As Physical Therapy

The Benefits Of Hippotherapy As Physical Therapy Physical therapy is not something that is necessarily done in a gym or at the hospital. You do not necessarily need a lot of equipment. Some of the most effective therapy takes place on the back of a horse. Hippotherapy is a type of therapy that has been used to help people who have had traumatic brain injuries, cognitive disabilities, autism, and even speech impediments. The term hippo is borrowed from the Greek language The word means horse, and hippotherapy is a type of therapeutic riding. One of the reason why hippotherapy is proving so successful is because it does more than just deal with the immediate problem, it helps heal the entire person. It is not at all unusual for a patient to experience some sort of physical, mental, and spiritual healing while they are enrolled in a hippotherapy program. Physically the reason hippotherapy is go good is easy to understand. Even though the horse has four legs instead of two, it walks in the same three dimensional manner that humans do. This movement allows for the person to be put through the same therapy routines that they would be in a gym, but their entire body is always in motion, making the therapy session more beneficial Like swimming, horseback riding is also a form of non-weight bearing exercises. In addition to being a great way to get the patients body in shape, riding is also a tactile experience. While the patient is going through the physical part of their therapy, they are also being bombarded by the smell and feel of the horse. Even better they are interacting with another living creature, a creature who is beautiful, kind, and does not make snap judgments about how the person walks or talks. The horse gives the person the freedom to be themselves. It is not enough for a person to decide they want to become involved in a hippotherapy program, there is a process that they first have to go through. Before entering the program they have to make sure that there is not a physical reason why they should not be mounted on a horse. One the person has been approved they will be working with either an occupational or physical therapist who is assisted by a therapeutic riding instructor. Together the pair devise a program that is designed to give the most benefit to the patient. Not every horse is suitable for hippotherapy. Before they can be integrated into the program the horse is put through an extensive evaluation program. The horse must display a good personality, meet a certain level of training, and also have gaits that are suitable for the program. Hippotherapy is not a new idea. It has been around for more than 30 years. One of the problems hippotherapy programs have run into is a lack of cooperation from the medical field. It is not unusual for doctors to question the therapeutic benefits of riding around the arena. However, recently more and more doctors have started to see changes in their patients that happened only after the patient became involved in a therapeutic riding program. Today respected organizations such as The American Physical Therapy Association, American Speech and Hearing Association, and American Occupational Therapy Association recognize hippotherapy as a valuable physical therapy tool.