Equine-assisted interventions may benefit veterans

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Equine-assisted interventions may benefit veterans
Veterans suffering from cognitive, emotional and physical impairments often face many hardships, including difficulty with community reintegration. Evidence suggests that equine-assisted interventions may help.

Researchers have discovered that equine-assisted interventions show promise for improving the psychosocial well-being of veterans.

Equine-assisted interventions (EAIs) have been shown to be of great benefit to humans. Though more studies are needed to confirm their efficacy, they’ve been successfully used to help those with depression, anxiety, ADHD, addiction, trauma, eating disorders, dementia, and other mental health difficulties. An empirical study published in the latter-half of 2019 reveals that equine-assisted interventions are also becoming a popular treatment modality for veterans with service-related health conditions.

The review, published in Military Medical Research, was written by a team of researchers who studied a wide body of peer-reviewed literature concerning EAIs among veterans. They looked at studies conducted and recorded between 1980 and 2017, all of which involved different EAI methods – from communicating with the horse to mounted exercises. The researchers concluded that EAIs targeting psychosocial outcomes in veterans yield promising results.

According to the authors, over 300 programs currently deliver equine-assisted services to veterans. However, little is known regarding the safe and effective delivery of such services. They agree that since EAIs that target psychosocial outcomes showed promise, further research into this type of therapy is warranted. Their hope is that future studies will focus specifically on the effects of EAIs on PTSD symptoms and physical pain.

Read the full review at mmrjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40779-019-0217-6.