Internationale Zeitschrift für Physikalische Medizin und Rehabilitation

Internationale Zeitschrift für Physikalische Medizin und Rehabilitation
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ISSN: 2329-9096


Effects of Short-Term Hippotherapy on Strength, Sensory-Motor Skills, and Attention in Adult Patients with Neuromuscular Dysfunction

Mark Vaczi, Eszter Kerekes and Zsofia Bogar

The purpose of the present study was to quantitatively assess the effects of hippotherapy on sensory-motor skills, strength, and attention in four adult patients with neuromuscular dysfunctions (two with Down syndrome, one with laesio cerebri, and one with mental disorder). Patients participated in hippotherapy once a week, for 8 weeks. Before and after the intervention, strength components such as hand-grip strength, vertical jump force, and knee extensor torque were assessed. Balance, simple-choice foot and multiple-choice hand reaction time, and attention with a short-term memory task were also measured. Balance and both types of reaction times improved in all patients, but strength changes were inconsistent. The greatest improvement was found in attention. The present data provide evidence that short-term hippotherapy is an effective treatment strategy in the development of sensory-motor and cognitive skills of patients with neurosmuscular dysfunction.