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publicado em 05/10/2010 às 19h00:00
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Equine therapy has good results in patients suffering stroke

Research conducted at Unicamp reveals that after therapy with horses, progress in motor aspects were satisfactory

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Foto: Divulgação/Gov. de Roraima
Patient is supported during a session of hippotherapy
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Patient is supported during a session of hippotherapy

The hippotherapy - a practice in which the horse is used to achieve therapeutic goals - proved to be effective in recovery of adult patients who have suffered from stroke (CVA). "The patients had improved quality of life and motor aspects of the lower limbs, and this demonstrates that equine therapy can stimulate the patient and also be very rewarding," he says physiotherapist Fernanda Beinotti Masters research presented at the Faculty of Science Médicas (FCM), under Professor Antonio Borges Guilherme Neto.

The therapy horses are recent in Brazil - the first experiments date back to 1989. In general, are known when applied to children with cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, Down syndrome and other diseases. This is because there are both entertaining and educational method. However, in adults, reports the therapist, there are very few studies that indicate a general improvement. In individuals affected by stroke, there was no record in the literature. "Most studies focusing on adults with neurological injuries consists of case studies and does not represent a sampling

meaningful and comparative, "he explains.

By 16 weeks, Fernanda underwent treatment combined with conventional therapeutic riding - so called because patients are dependent on engines and can not guide the horse alone - in 10 volunteers followed at the Physiotherapy Hospital das Clinicas (HC) at UNICAMP. All who had held the hippotherapy medical opinion favorable to the practice.

We selected patients whose disease had occurred over a year, only once, and could already walk. It was also necessary that the impairment was greater in the legs and who did not possess any other comorbidity such as hypertension or uncontrolled diabetes. During this period, were assessed twice - once at the beginning and one at the end of therapy - and, as a way to compare the data, another group of 10 people, referred only to conventional treatment and also underwent both evaluations.

The treatment period took place at the Center for Equine Harmony, in Campinas (SP), and exercises involving balance, coordination and upper and lower limb posture. The therapist explains that the use of hippotherapy varies with the patient and the response we have every year, because there is a specific program to follow. But in research, she sought to standardize the therapy as a way to better observe the performance of each. We assessed the motor impairment, balance, muscle tone, gait independence, cadence of the steps and the quality of life of patients.

According to Fernanda, the intersection data statistical differences between groups do not appear starkly. For example, balance and gait independence showed difference between the groups, showing that both have improved. "If you compare in general, the patients group's control remained the same stage. Some results showing improvement and others even worse."

The group undergoing hippotherapy associated with physical therapy showed an overall improvement. In many respects it was possible to note the positive results and statistics, as is the case of motor impairment of lower limbs, plantar flexor tone, balance and quality of life. Moreover, the group that conducted the hippotherapy showed an improvement in gait pattern, making it closer to normal gait. The cadence and decreased walking speed increased, which is considered normal in view that the sooner a person walk without neurological deficit, the less she will walk. This was not observed in the control group, since they increased the pace and speed.

   Palavras-chave:   Equine therapy    Stroke    Horse Therapy    Unicamp   
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