martes, 19 de julio de 2011

ANIMO and Cystic Fibrosis

It has been found the world over, that, after having worked with children with severe Cerebral Palsy and other wheelchair bound disabilities, even just sitting on a horse at the walk helps to loosen fluids in the lungs and makes it possible to expel them. People that are able to walk, do this naturally just by walking but with MS or CP or any other wheelchair bound disability, the horse takes over and accomplishes this simple task, plus many more benefits, while giving the child pleasure and the possibility to look down on their surroundings, instead of always looking up from their chair. They are also able to cover ground unavailable to them in a wheel chair. At ANIMO, we always tried to have a short trail ride after a therapy session just to add to their experience. More recently, we have also started working with cancer patients and heavy smokers, who also need to break up and clear out fluid from the lungs. After a therapeutic riding session, we usually put the person face down, lying over the horse’s back and walk around the ring several times, bringing up any fluid or mucus collected in the lungs. With children with Cystic Fibrosis, ‘percussion’ may be added while they are hanging over the horse to increase the benefits. The percussion therapy for any child is hard but doing it on horseback, whether sitting on a pony, making them at a height and angle easy to reach, or hanging over the horse, makes the whole procedure more fun and sometimes even funny for them. You must have a doctor’s certificate to make sure that the child can participate and that they don’t have allergies. There are almost always other types of animals at a riding stable, so allergies can cause problems. It is also a good idea to cover the horse with a sheet or bib of some kind so that hair doesn’t get in the rider’s mouth. If the patient is capable, sitting bare-back, facing forwards while leaning back with their hands as far up on the rump as possible, hands pointing inwards, is a fantastic way to get the fluids and phlegm to loosen from the sides of the lungs. After a session like this, and especially if they can manage a bit of a trot, they tend to cough up chunks of fluid and phlegm, making it easier to breathe. I think that therapeutic riding should be much more heavily investigated and included in the regular therapy and treatment of children with Cystic Fibrosis. Since we have seen how riding helps other types of lung disorders, clear the lungs and increase oxygen supply, it seems that Cystic Fibrosis is a natural candidate for this type of therapy. It is always a good idea to water the riding area before a therapy session because dust and sand can create problems for the lungs, throat, eyes and sinuses.