What is Hyppotherapy?
Hippotherapy, also named Aloka, is a form of physical, occupational and speech ther-apy in which a therapist uses the
characteristic movements of a horse to providecarefully graded motor and sensory input
. It is used to improve neurological func-tion and sensory processing which can be generalized to a wide range of daily activi-ties. It’s very useful for children with autism.Hippotherapy is a Greek Word meaning therapy aided by a horse (=hippos). The ear-liest recorded mention of the word “hippotherapy” is in the
ancient Greek writings of Hippocrates
. In 1960s, when it was not yet developed as a formalized discipline, itbegan to be used in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in addition to traditional physi-cal therapy. The first curriculum has been formulated in the late 1980s by a group of Canadian and American therapists after a visit to Germany. The discipline was for-malized in the United States in 1992 by the American Hippotherapy Association(AHA). AHA established official standards of practice and formalized therapist educa-tional curriculum processed for Occupational, Physical and Speech therapists in theUnited States of America.
The experience in Thailand
In Thailand the experimentation of hyppotherapy was set up on 6
February 2008thanks to the collaboration with RAJANAGARINDRE Institute of Child Development (RICD), Packsquadron Chaing-mai, the Ministry of Defense of Thailand, Royal Thai Army and Autistic’s parents. It’s organized every Wednesday inthe spaces provided by Packsquadron Chaingmai.
How to organize Hippotherapy?
In order to organize hyppotherapy, it’s fundamental to have
,skillful in horseback riding and who also have a knowledge in Autistic and de-velopmental stimulation. It’s also important to prepare autistic children andtheir parents for understanding the programs, to train parents as a teacher’said for safety purpose and developmental stimulation during the programs andto do the assessment of the autistic children before and after 12 sessions of Hippotherapy. In addition, you obviously need tame and well trained horsesand very broad areas.
Which are the benefits?
The rhythmic and multidimensional movement of horse provides variable
repetitive sensory stimulation
to patients.The stimulation can be varied and manipulated by a trained therapist to fit a patient’s needs and stimulate improvedfunctioning of daily living. Hyppotherapy thus stimulates the rider and help enhance balance, good posture, mobility,co- ordination and strength. It aids mental functioning and it improves mood and self confidence as well.It is indicated for children and adults with mild to severe neuromuscular dysfunction and it is good for impairmentssuch as abnormal muscle tone, poor balance, poor co-ordination, sensory dysfunction, postural asymmetry, poor postural control and decreased mobility. It can also be widely used to treat Cerebral Palsy, developmental delays,traumatic brain injury, stroke and autism.In Thailand it’s in particular used for autistic children.
Thiri Nwe, Physiotherapist, NH Myanmar
E d i t i o n 7 , F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 1A s s o c i a z i o n e N e w H u m a n i t y
The ancient art of riding -Hyppotherapy lands in Thailand
Thiri, the physiotherapist of NH in Myanmar, is now in Thailand, where she has attended a professional training about Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy at
Rjanakarindra Institute of Child Develop- ment
managed by the department of Mental Health, under the Ministry of Public Health.
There she got a chance of observing and trying various rehabilitation techniques, and in particular she discovered Hippotherapy, that is very popular in Western country. In Thailand, they have been organizing it for 2 years and it is especially used for Autistic children, in collaboration with the Military service.