The MiraColt™ – addressing NeuroRehabilitation in Stroke & Parkinson’s Disease
The MiraColt™ motion simulator, used as part of physical and occupational therapy in gait and functional retraining at home or in a therapy center, is a viable part of care and management that improves rehabilitation therapy outcomes and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s Disease and those recovering from a stroke.
The Benefits of Using the MiraColt™
The use of the MiraColt™ equine motion simulator as a neurorehabilitation intervention tool in Stroke recovery or Parkinson’s disease management is an innovative approach that has shown promise in improving various aspects of patients’ physical and mental health. The simulator’s design mimics the multidimensional, rhythmic, repetitive movement of a horse, providing patients with a safe and controlled environment to practice and improve their core strength, posture, balance, gait, stability, and control.
Previous and ongoing studies, as well as anecdotal reports, have demonstrated that the MiraColt™ simulator can help patients reduce their risk of falls, improve their overall fitness and confidence, and enhance their quality of life. Additionally, the use of the simulator has been shown to benefit caregivers by reducing their burden of care and improving their emotional well-being.
In studies involving the use of the MiraColt™ as adaptive equipment for Parkinson’s, B. Rhett Rigby, Ph.D.,CSPS, NSCA-CPT, said he “saw improved gait and balance in Parkinson’s patients.” In a separate study, 12 participants with Parkinson’s who rode the MiraColt™ gait training device for six weeks reported improved standing ability, less cognitive impairment, improved balance, better sleep, increased mobility, improved emotional state, and increased social interaction. Similar results have been reported by people undergoing stroke rehabilitation therapy with the MiraColt™.
Various other studies using simulated horseback riding equipment have shown great promise in improving outcomes for people undergoing management for stroke or Parkinson’s disease. Within 8 to 12 weeks of therapeutic intervention, benefits like noticeably improved postural balance, improving the asymmetry of the abdominal muscles of stroke patients, improving equilibrium, flexibility and postural adjustment, and improving overall mobility, freedom and functionality.
The MiraColt™ simulator is an example of how innovative technology can be used to improve patient outcomes and enhance rehabilitation interventions. It is important to note that, for best targeted outcomes, the use of this tool should be in conjunction with other rehabilitation modalities and under the guidance trained therapist who can grade, adapt, and adjust the MiraColt to suit desired goals.
What the MiraColt™ Does
This therapeutic medical device reproduces the complex, natural, multidimensional, rythmic, repetitive, motion patterns experienced when riding a horse.
It delivers carefully graded motor and sensory inputs to stimulate neural pathways and the muscular system causing the rider, in order to remain in a stable position, make limb, core and trunk adjustments. These body posture movements mimic the responses to the pelvic movement patters adopted when human beings walk. The impact on the spine and central nervous system results in the stimulation of dormant motor neurons and the recreation or relearning of correct and stable movement patterns.
Stroke & Parkinson’s Disease : A brief on Research & Testimonials
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, and it is the fifth leading cause of death. This translates to one stroke every 40 seconds.Strokes are a leading cause of serious long-term disability, reducing mobility in more than half of survivors age 65 and over.
The Parkinson’s Foundation estimates that approximately one million people in the United States are living with Parkinson’s disease, and approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Men are 1.5 times more likely to have the disease compared to women. In 2020, approximately 1 million people were estimated to be living with Parkinson’s disease within the United States.
Both stroke and Parkinson’s disease can have a significant impact on mobility, function, and quality of life. Making social interaction and independence more difficult, and worsening the financial condition of families because of the associated medical and supportive care expenses.
The effects of a stroke can vary depending on the location and severity of the stroke, but common impairments include paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, difficulty with speech and language, vision problems, and cognitive impairments. These impairments can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as dressing, eating, and bathing, and can significantly impact mobility and quality of life.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, balance, and coordination. Common symptoms include tremors, stiffness, slow movement, and difficulty with balance and coordination. These symptoms can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as walking, dressing, and eating, and can significantly impact mobility and quality of life.
Both stroke and Parkinson’s disease can also have emotional and psychological impacts, such as depression, anxiety, and social isolation, which can further impact quality of life. Treatment and management options, including medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications, can help to mitigate the impact of these conditions on mobility, function, and quality of life.
Various studies using simulated horseback riding equipment have shown great promise in improving outcomes for people undergoing management for stroke or Parkinson’s disease. Within 8 to 12 weeks of therapeutic intervention, benefits like noticeably improved postural balance, improving the asymmetry of the abdominal muscles of stroke patients, improving equilibrium, flexibility and postural adjustment, and improving overall mobility, freedom and functionality.
A 2018 study on the effect of hippotherapy (from which the innovation of the MiraColt draws its inspiration) on Parkinson’s disease found that the rhythmic and three-dimensional oscillations triggered by riding elicited an important neuromuscular response from riders’ postural reflex mechanisms. The movement of the horse, its gait motion patterns, was sensed by the participants to be similar to that experienced in the pelvic areas as part of normal human gait, thereby helping to improve balance and strengthen the trunk muscles.
The MiraColt™ is viable gait stability, cadence and balance training equipment for people with Parkinson’s disease or those undergoing stroke recovery. By reproducing the natural and complex three-dimensional motion of a horse, it makes gait training for stroke patients and Parkinson’s patients both accessible and affordable for a vast number of people who need it.