Is there a Place for Hippotherapy in Children with Cerebral Palsy?
Introduction: Purpose Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone and posture that is caused by damage of the developing brain. This usually led to a restriction of independence in daily living activities. One of the methods which might bring benefits for cerebral palsy children is hippotherapy. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of hippotherapy on cerebral palsied children’ posture and body function. Material and methods: Forty-five children classified to 1 or 2 GMFCS level, with spastic diplegia or hemiplegia, aged 6-12 years were recruited. Participants were divided into three groups: study 1 (n=15), study 2 (n=15) and control (n=15). Children from study groups attended in 30 minutes hippotherapy sessions for 12 consecutive weeks, once weekly (study group l), twice weekly (study group 2). Sitting Assessment Scale (SAS) was used. Results: Comparison of SAS shoved improvement in all children from group 1 and 2. The collected data also allowed for the distribution of changes in the assessment of body posture taking into account the type of CP, GMFCS level and age of the patient. The Fischer exact test was used to assess the significance of differences between the frequencies of various non-measurable features in groups. Conclusion: Hippotherapy has a positive influence on body posture and individual body part function in sitting position among children with cerebral palsy. The greater improvement can be seen in the more independent, younger children with a milder type of the disease.