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Ann Rehabil Med. 2016 Apr;40(2):230-236. English. Original Article.
Jang CH , Joo MC , Noh SE , Lee SY , Lee DB , Lee SH , Kim HK , Park HI .
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Wonkwang University School of Medicine and Hospital, Iksan, Korea.
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Wonkwang University School of Medicine, Iksan, Korea.
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Yeouido, St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Equestrian, Jeonju Kijeon College, Jeonju, Korea.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of hippotherapy on psychosocial and emotional parameters in children with cerebral palsy (CP) and their caregivers. METHODS: Eight children with CP were recruited (three males and five females; mean age, 7.3 years; Gross Motor Function Classification System levels 1-3). Hippotherapy sessions were conducted for 30 minutes once weekly for 10 consecutive weeks in an indoor riding arena. The Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM), Pediatric Balance Scale (PBS), and the Korean version of the Modified Barthel Index were evaluated. All children were evaluated by the Children's Depression Inventory, Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children, State Anxiety Inventory for Children, Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale, and the Korean-Satisfaction with Life Scale (K-SWLS). Their caregivers were evaluated with the Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the K-SWLS. We assessed children and their caregivers with the same parameters immediately after hippotherapy. RESULTS: Significant improvements on the GMFM, dimension E in the GMFM, and the PBS were observed after hippotherapy compared with the baseline assessment (p<0.05). However, no improvements were detected in the psychosocial or emotional parameters in children with CP or their caregivers. None of the participants showed any adverse effects or accidents during the 10 weeks hippotherapy program. CONCLUSIONS: Hippotherapy was safe and effectively improved gross motor and balance domains in children with CP. However, no improvements were observed in psychosocial or emotional parameters.

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