MS therapy and horseback riding: what you need to know
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. Medicines are available, but physiotherapy can also reduce some of the symptoms. Hippotherapy is a type of alternative physical therapy that involves horses.
Hippotherapy may have beneficial results as part of a therapeutic program aimed at involving the sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems. The therapy affects different parts of the body, including the central nervous system (CNS), which means it can be an effective treatment for people with MS.
This article explains what MS is, how hippotherapy works, and how this therapy can benefit a person with MS.
Hippotherapy is still a relatively new alternative therapy technique, but research suggests that the results are often positive.
For example, a
- improved balance
- reduce fatigue
- reduce spasticity
- improve the quality of life
A 2015 study in the United States, hippotherapy may help people with MS process the senses that play a role in balance and gait, improving their ability to maintain an upright, controlled posture.
In addition, the researchers behind a Study 2019 in Spain, noted the benefits of hippotherapy for strengthening the pelvic floor and relieving depression in people with MS.
Finally, a Study 2020 who did not focus on MS recognized how spending time in nature could improve a person’s quality of life. Research suggests that spending more time connecting with nature leads to higher levels of happiness, positive emotions, and satisfaction in life. Hippotherapy allows people to undertake physical therapy while connecting with nature.
The therapy aims to improve both the mental and physical health of the person participating in the session.
A person can use this online tool find therapists or therapy assistants in their area who use hippotherapy in their practice.
Hippotherapy uses the movements of the horse to help a person achieve certain goals and objectives. The movements of the animal resemble the human gait and provide as much 2,500 neuromotor inputs to the person in a 25-minute therapy session. As a result, this therapy
During a hippotherapy session, the person sits on the horse’s back and allows the therapist to guide them. Hippotherapy is not about learning to ride, although a certified riding instructor can attend the session.
The combination of a natural environment with the cooperation between man and animal can bring positive physical and mental benefits. Hippotherapy can reduce blood pressure, tiredand stress, as well as improving a person’s quality of life and sense of well-being.
MS is a chronic, unpredictable disease in which damage to the CNS affects the spinal cord, brain, and optic nerves. The disease can cause severe physical, mental and cognitive reactions in the body, and symptoms range from mild to severe.
Estimates suggest there could be as many as 1 million people living with the disease in the United States
Learn more about the different types of MS here.
MS can cause range of symptoms, which may vary among individuals. The table below shows the most common symptoms and some of the rarest.
There is currently no cure for MS, but treatments can reduce symptoms. The options range from prescribed medications,
Although the exact cause of MS is unknown, many risk factors can contribute to the onset of the disease, including:
- Kind: MS affects more women than men.
- Age: People with MS are usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40.
- Genetic: A vulnerability to disease can pass from a person to their children.
- Environmental factors: Smoking and not getting enough sun are some of the factors that can contribute to MS.
MS is an unpredictable chronic disease that usually manifests between the ages of 20 and 40. However, the diagnosis can occur at any age. There is no cure for MS, but alternative treatment options, such as hippotherapy, may alleviate some of the symptoms.
During hippotherapy sessions, a person sits on a horse and allows a therapist to guide them. The horse’s gait and movement create a form of physical therapy by challenging the sensory and physical systems of the body. The benefits of hippotherapy can include improvements in physical and mental well-being.