Neurological disorders often cause severe long-term disabilities with substantial day-to-day consequences. Deeper understanding of brain functioning has opened new perspectives for more integrative interventions, boosting the intrinsic nervous system capabilities for behavioral restitution. Neurorehabilitation capitalizes on neuroplasticity that occurs throughout life. However, each patient has their own rhythm, and approaches need to be tailored instead of standardised. But where are the frontiers and what are the limits for moving forward?
Hippotherapy is slowly emerging as a key method for neurological rehabilitation. During hippotherapy, the specific execution and repetition of a task are essential elements for learning/reinforcement/promotion of a function and central to neurorehabilitation. The acquisition and transfer of skills to other activities is carried out more effectively when the skills are relevant to the context. In other words, the degree of change associated with neuroplasticity by hippotherapy is related both to the relevance of the activity and to the intensity and frequency of the elements that constitute it. Overall, our programs allow patient’s empowerment through an inclusive and personalized method. They are adapted to the rhythm of the patient, constantly reassessed and immediately adjusted, taking into account the residual neurological possibilities, the interaction with the close caregiver(s) and life goals of the individual.
Manuel Gaviria, MD, PhD
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