Neurochemical Journal

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 311–316 | Cite as

Quantification of hormonal changes by effects of hippotherapy in the autistic population

  • C. TabaresEmail author
  • F. Vicente
  • S. Sánchez
  • A. Aparicio
  • S. Alejo
  • J. Cubero
Clinical Neurochemistry


Zootherapy, more specifically in its equine form, has proliferated recently as a therapeutic activity and is one of the most common applications in the stimulation of autistic individuals. At the same time, the influence of certain hormones was recently revealed in the behavior of autistic spectrum disorders. We propose to objectify the influence of analyzing equestrian therapies through laboratory methods and non-invasive techniques (salivary samples), in the hormone levels of cortisol and progesterone, thus indirectly those of oxytocin, before and after hippotherapy sessions for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The main results indicated that equine therapy decreased (p ≤ 0.05) the levels of salivary Cortisol in the rest of the sessions (before Hippotherapy 33.11 ± 0.96 ng/mL vs. after Hippotherapy 2.23 ± 0.75 ng/mL). And also the levels of salivary progesterone in the first session (before Hippotherapy 28.63 ± 12.81 ng/mL vs. after Hippotherapy 51.59 ± 33.11 ng/mL) and in the rest of the sessions (before hippotherapy 21.58 ± 12 pg/mL vs. after Hippotherapy 26.03 ± 11.98 pg/mL) which was always on the rise. These effective results were corroborated with the Cortisol/Progesterone Balance which reduced after equine therapy in the first session (before Hippotherapy 99.87 vs. after Hippotherapy 76.24) and the other sessions (before Hippotherapy 181.31 vs. after Hippotherapy 110.48). In conclusion, the Hippotherapy sessions for the population with ASD generated leads to an improvement in social attitudes, and it is confirmed with the effective modulation of the implicating hormones.


autism hippotherapy oxytocin cortisol and progesterone 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    DSM-IV, Manual Diagnóstico y estadístico de los Trastornos Mentales, Barcelona: Masson, 1997.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Andari, E., Duhamel, J.R., Zalla, T., Herbrecht, E., Leboyer, M., and Sirigu, A., Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2010, vol. 9, no. 107, pp. 4389–4394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bales, K.L., Boone, E., Epperson, P., Hoffman, G., and Carter, C.S, Front Psychiatry, 2011, vol. 2, p. 24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kosfeld, M., et al., Nature, 2005, vol. 435, pp. 673–676.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kirsch, P., Esslinger, C., Chen, Q., Mier, D., Lis, S., Siddhanti, S., Gruppe, H., Mattay, V.S., Gallhofer, B., and Meyer-Lindenberg, A., J. Neurosci., 2005, vol. 25, no. 49, pp. 11489–11493.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fischer-Shofty, M., Shamay-Tsoory, S.G., Harari, H., and Levkovitz, Y., Neuropsychologia, 2010, vol. 1, no. 48, pp. 179–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Modahl, C., Green, L., Fein, D., Morris, M., Waterhouse, L., Feinstein, C., and Levin, H., Biol. Psych., 1998, vol. 4, no. 43, pp. 270–277.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gutkowska, J., Jankowski, M., Mukaddam-Daher, S., McCann, S.M., Chantal, L., and Zingg, H.H., Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 1997, vol. 21, no. 94, pp. 11704–11709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Engelmann, et al., Am. J. Physiol., 2000, pp. 1255–1305.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hollander, E., Bartz, J., Chaplin, W., Phillips, A., Sumner, J., Soorya, L., Anagnostou, E., and Wasserman, S., Biol. Psych., 2006, vol. 4, no. 61, pp. 498–503.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kovacs, G.L., Sarnyai, Z., and Szabo, G., Psycho-neuroendocrinology, 1998, vol. 8, no. 23, pp. 945–962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Uvnas-Moberg, K., Bjokstrand, E., Hillegaart, V., and Ahlenivs, S., Psychopharmacology, 1999, vol. 1, no. 142, pp. 95–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Agren, G. and Lundeberg, T., Neuroreport, 2002, vol. 11, no. 13, pp. 1415–1419.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ditzen, B., Schaer, M., Gabriel, B., Bodenmann, G., Ehlert, U., and Heinrichs, M., Biol. Psych., 2009, vol. 9, no. 65, pp. 728–731.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Legros, J.J., Bulletin et Mémoires de l’AcademieRoyale de Médecine de Belgique, 2002, vol. 7–9, no. 157, pp. 383–389.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Brown, S.L., Fredrickson, B.L., Wirth, M.M., Poulin, M.J., Meier, E.A., Heaphy, E.D., Cohen, M.D., and Schultheiss, O.C., Hormones Behavior, 2009, vol. 5, no. 56, p. 574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Amico, J.A., Seitchik, J., and Robinson, A.G., J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metabolism, 1984, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 274–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nemsadze, K. and Silagava, M., Georgian Med. News, 2010, vol. 189, pp. 21–26.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Yao, J.K., Moss, H.B., and Kirillova, G.P., Clin. Biochem., 1998, vol. 3, no. 31, pp. 187–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Mirasoli, M., Deo, S.K., Lewis, J.C., Roda, A., and Daunert, S., Anal. Biochem., 2002, vol. 2, no. 306, pp. 204–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Galard, R., Gallart, J.M., Catalan, R., Schwartz, S., Arguello, J.M., and Castellanos, J.M., Am. J. Psych., 1991, vol. 4, no. 148, pp. 505–508.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Canal, R. and Rivière, A., Conducta de juego y expresiones emocionales de Niños Autistas no verbales en una situación natural de interacción, 1996.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Frith, U., Autismo, Madrid: Alianza, 1991.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Frith, U., Autismo: Hacia una explicacio’n del enigma, Madrid: Alianza, 2004.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Rivière, A., Desarrollo normal y autism, Madrid: Universidad Auto’noma de Madrid, 1997.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nemsadze, K. and Silagava, M., Georgian Med. News, 2010, vol. 189, pp. 21–26.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Meston, C.M. and Frohlich, P.F., Arch. General Psych., 2000, vol. 11, no. 57, pp. 1012–1030.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Hendrick, V., Altshuler, L.L., and Suri, R., Psychosomatics, 1998, vol. 2, no. 39, pp. 93–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Rivière, A., Autismo: Orientaciones para la intervención educativa, Madrid: Trotta, 2001.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Aguilera, A., Moreno, F.J., and Rodríguez, I.R., Revista de Educación, 2007, vol. 344, pp. 425–445.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Corbett, B.A., Gunther, J.R., Comins, D., Price, J., Ryan, N., Simon, D., Schupp, C.W., and Rios, T., J. Autism Development Disorder, 2011, vol. 4, no. 41, pp. 505–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Martos, J., Neurology, 2005, vol. 1, no. 40, pp. 177–180.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ojea Rúa, M., El Espectro Autista. Intervencio’n Psicoeducativa, Ma’laga: Algibe, 2004.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Tabares
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • F. Vicente
    • 1
  • S. Sánchez
    • 1
  • A. Aparicio
    • 3
  • S. Alejo
    • 3
  • J. Cubero
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Anthropology, Research Group: Psyche-ExUniversity of ExtremaduraBadajozSpain
  2. 2.Laboratory of Laboratory of Health Education, Science Education AreaUniversity of ExtremaduraBadajozSpain
  3. 3.Laboratory of Clinical AnalysisUniversity Hospital: “Infanta Cristina”, SESBadajozSpain
  4. 4.BadajozSpain

Personalised recommendations