Non-drug Treatments for Rett Syndrome
Hippotherapy refers to using a horse and its movement as a way of rehabilitation that might improve motor, sensory, and communication skills. The movements of a horse are variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. While sitting astride a horse, every muscle in the rider’s body has to respond to the animal’s movements. This can help improve balance, coordination, posture, fine motor control, and articulation, as well as awareness, relaxation, socialization, and cognitive skills.
Hydrotherapy uses activities in water as a clinical intervention method to improve or restore functional abilities in Rett syndrome patients. These activities are generally done in swimming pools, bathtubs, showers, or full body immersion tanks. This kind of therapy is aimed at promoting relaxation, improving circulation, restoring mobility, strengthening muscles, improving walking and coordination, and providing recreation.
Music therapy refers to the use of music as a clinical intervention to develop, improve, or restore functional deficits. Research has shown that music has a direct effect on brain cells by synchronizing their activity and promoting neuroplasticity, which is defined as the ability of the brain to reorganize itself by forming new connections between nerve cells in response to learning or external cues.
Occupational therapy can improve the purposeful use of hands, and reduce repetitive hand and arm movements. For patients with Rett syndrome, the goal of occupational therapy is to reduce the burden of their physically and mentally debilitating symptoms, improve their functional abilities in daily activities, and increase their independence.
Physiotherapy is reported to be especially useful in addressing problems related to motor functions, muscle tone, hand movements, learning disabilities, breathing issues, bone deformities, and cardiovascular irregularities. The goal of physiotherapy is to gradually improve mobility, coordination, and balance to assist Rett syndrome patients in gaining greater control over movement and greater independence.
One of the most prominent symptoms of Rett syndrome is difficulty in communication. Speech therapy can help them to speak and communicate more effectively. Therapists can help identify speech problems in patients and suggest ways to alleviate those problems. Speech therapy is continued throughout the stages of Rett syndrome and is adapted according to the changing needs of the child.