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Effect of equine-assisted therapy on the postural balance of the elderly Efeito da equoterapia no equilíbrio postural de idosos

Keywords: equoterapia , equilíbrio postural , idosos , fisioterapia , reabilita o , equine-assisted therapy , postural balance , elderly , physical therapy , rehabilitation

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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether equine-assisted therapy (hippotherapy) produces alterations in the balance of the elderly. METHODS: The sample included 17 older adults who were divided into experimental (7 subjects) and control (10 subjects) groups. Stabilometry data were acquired with a force platform. The Timed Up and Go test (TUG) was used for clinical analysis of seated balance, transfer from a seated to a standing position, walking stability and changes in gait. Sixteen equine-assisted therapy sessions were carried out. RESULTS: Mann-Witney was used to compare the means between groups and no significant differences were found in the analyzed stabilometric parameters. In intragroup comparison with the Wilcoxon test, a significant increase in the variables COPy and Area (p=0.02) was observed. Equine-assisted therapy significantly affected (p=0.04) TUG test means between the experimental and control groups (Mann-Witney). Intragroup TUG test means were also significantly affected (p=0.04) according to the Wilcoxon test. CONCLUSIONS: Because senescence tends to normalize stabilometric measures, the number of equine-assisted therapy sessions was insufficient to determine any differences. Nevertheless, the significant improvement in TUG test scores demonstrates that this treatment frequency was a predictor of reduced fall risk in the elderly. Article registered in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) under number ACTRN12610000534088. OBJETIVO: Verificar se a equoterapia é capaz de produzir altera es no equilíbrio de idosos. MéTODOS: Desenvolveu-se um estudo experimental controlado. A amostra foi composta de 17 idosos, divididos em grupo experimental (GE), sete sujeitos e grupo controle (GC), dez sujeitos. A aquisi o dos dados da estabilometria foi realizada por meio da plataforma de for a da marca AMTI (Force Measurement Systems). Para análise clínica do equilíbrio sentado, transferências de sentado para a posi o em pé, estabilidade na deambula o e mudan as do curso da marcha, utilizou-se o teste Timed Up and Go (TUG). Foram realizadas 16 sess es de equoterapia. RESULTADOS: Na compara o das médias entre os grupos por meio do teste de Mann-Whitney, n o houve diferen a significativa nos parametros estabilométricos analisados. Já na compara o das médias intragrupo por meio do teste de Wilcoxon, verificou-se aumento significante sobre as variáveis COPy e área (p=0,02). Nas médias entre o GE e o GC, por meio do teste de Mann-Whitney para análise do teste TUG, verificou-se efeito significante (p=0,04) da equoterapia. Na compara o

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