The MiraColt™ is Improving
the Quality of Life for People with Cerebral Palsy

The MiraColt, used both in a home and therapy environment, is a viable and affordable intervention in management of Cerebral Palsy.

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What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it affects about 1 in 345 children(3 per 1,000 8-year-old children)  in the United States. Cerebral refers to the fact that it has something to do with the brain. Palsy is a term that means weakness or problems related to muscles. Cerebral Palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain which results in an individual having problems with muscular control and ability. The disorder therefore results in affecting an individual’s ability to move, maintain balance and posture or speak.

People with cerebral Palsy additionally also have associated intellectual disability due to speech and learning disabilities, as well as problems with vision and hearing. Furthermore, the related muscular spasticity and tone problems can result in deformities of the spine (such as scoliosis) or joint problems like contractures.  This impact on functional ability and mobility ultimately, independence and quality of life of the individual and can be a major source of distress within caregiver families.

Although the symptoms of CP vary from person to person, all people with the condition have some form of disability with movement and posture. People with severe CP might require use of special equipment to walk or being unable to walk at all, might need lifelong care. those with mild CP, on the other hand, could have problems with their gait, but might not require any special help. Although CP does not worsen over time, the exact symptoms can change over a person’s lifetime.

Occupational, Speech and Physical Therapy interventions in the management of Cerebral Palsy are important in relieving the symptomatic effects of the disease. They help in improving the overall learning and functional quality of life of individuals with the condition.

The MiraColt™

The MiraColt™ from Chariot Innovations Inc., is a unique mechanical device that matches almost exactly the walking gait of a horse. It was first conceived in 2012 by Dr. Brian Garner, a mechanical engineering professor at Baylor University, and is backed by over 8 years of research and development. It has been in use in homes, research centers and CP Care centers since 2012. The graphs below show how the device  matches almost exactly the riding motion of a horse. A key factor responsible for ability to replicate the benefits of hippotherapy gained from riding a real horse.

MiraColt Motion Graphs

How the MiraColt™  helps in management of Cerebral Palsy?

MiraColt, as a hippotherapy simulator, is an effective therapeutic intervention for people with Cerebral Palsy symptoms. Hippotherapy is a major alternative therapy that is now recognized as a major form of therapy that helps with deliver improvements in cognitive ability, neuromuscular deficits or disabilities, physical strength, and a heightened sense of well-being.

The key with hippotherapy is the effect of the rhythmic movement (gait) of a horse on the body. This movement allows the riders hips and torso to align and move properly.  The MiraColt helps train the muscles and joints to work in a proper motion by directing the riders’ hip movement into the normal human walking gait pattern.  This consistent input increases muscles memory and strength which translates into correcting gait function.  Research has shown that after about 24 sessions, each about 30 minutes, children had significant improvements in functional skills (self-care, social function, and mobility) and a reduced need for caregiver assistance.   Users had better postural balance in the sitting position, dynamic balance, and functionality. By replicating the movement (gait) of a horse (i.e., a hippotherapy simulator), the MiraColt delivers these benefits of hippotherapy.

Riding the MiraColt also stimulates neural pathways. This has a calming effect on the child with Cerebral Palsy. Furthermore, it also leads to improving their quality of sleep which is key to memory recall and early childhood development. Consistent use of the MiraColt in this regard, delivers long-term impacts on the overall quality of life and ability of the individual with Cerebral Palsy and their families.

The MiraColt is a safe, accessible, and affordable therapeutic device available for use at home and in therapy centers.  It is easy to use with minimal supervision and fun to ride. It also requires little maintenance and is an all-weather device. These advantages help ensure that the user can maintain a consistent therapy regime, which is important in both maximizing and sustaining benefits realized.

Emma Lean, a physical therapist and riding instructor at Joyride Center (A PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center) emphasized the positive impact the MiraColt had on Joyride’s patients with Cerebral Palsy and Autism, rating it a 10 out of 10 for its ability to improve functionality and aid in distinctive progression.

Our solution? A safe, accessible, and affordable
device to be used in a clinic or home setting.

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