The effectiveness of hippotherapy in relation to cerebral palsy - a review

Damian Bator, Magdalena Wójcik, Julita Szarpak, Hubert Nieścior, Justyna Dąbrowska, Halina Piecewicz-Szczęsna



Cerebral Palsy (CP) includes a group of movement and posture development disorders which cause activity limitation and are related to non-progressive disturbances during the fetal or infant brain development. In recent years, the use of hippotherapy as a rehabilitation of spstatic movement disorders in patients with  cerebral palsy is gaining in popularity. Hippotherapy is a physical therapy treatment based on the horse's movements, under the direction of an expert physical therapist. The horse's seat is considered as a dynamic support base. Thus, it is an excellent tool to improve and develop postural control, trunk strength, and balance. It allows to build overall postural strength and endurance, address weight-bearing, and motor planning. The therapeutic results obtained with the application of hippotherapy treatments has encouraged research into developing an advanced hippotherapy platform or simulators that "imitate" the movements of a horse, so that this therapy may be more accessible and adaptable to patients. The purpose of this report is to identify the forms and programmes of hippotherapy used, and to summarise and assess the latest available evidence of their clinical effectiveness in the rehabilitation of symptoms in patients with cerebral palsy. Method: a  review of publications on the effectiveness of hippotherapy programmes in the rehabilitation of symptoms in patients with cerebral palsy. Finally, 8 original tests were included in the review whose data have been extracted. The results of the research indicate that hippotherapy may be beneficial in the rehabilitation of symptoms in patients with cerebral palsy. The review suggests that further research is needed to establish a solid evidence base for hippotherapy among people with these problems. The promising results so far support further research projects. 


hippotherapy; cerebral palsy; rehabilitation

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Journal of Education, Health and Sport formerly Journal of Health Sciences

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1223 Journal of Education, Health and Sport eISSN 2391-8306 7

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