Mind-Body Medicine


MBM Student Completes Master’s Project on Combination of Equine Therapy with Mindfulness for Cardiac rehabilitation: Heidi Tobin (Fall 2010 Cohort)


For my master’s project, I decided to research a medical subject that continues to account for the highest numbers of deaths in the American, adult population: heart disease and damaging cardiac events. I wanted to explore the possibility of offering a mind-body experience that has always been very healing and meaningful for me, to those living with injured hearts: interacting, riding, and partnering with equines (horses). This project proposes that two mind-body modalities—equine-assisted therapy and informal mindfulness practice—can work together to complement conventional medical interventions for those engaged in cardiac rehabilitation to decrease physical, emotional, and spiritual stress on the heart. In addition, I developed a plan of treatment using these modalities for stress-reduction in heart patients. I based this treatment protocol on a review of research on equine-assisted therapy and mindfulness practices, interviews with experts on equine therapy and cardiac rehabilitation, and existing programs of therapeutic riding.

This research journey and the experience of volunteering at a local therapeutic riding center have been challenging, inspirational, and so meaningful. Maybe this research can be a springboard for further study into partnering safely, therapeutically, and joyfully with horses in the hopes of healing human hearts.




Posted at 08:14 PM

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What a great research project. Have the results been published yet?


Claire Dorotik M.A., author, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE: Harnessing the Healing Power of the Human-Equine Bond


Posted by Anonymous (not verified) | 05/24/2012 @ 09:27 PM

Thank you, Claire. The paper is being edited for publication, currently.

Enjoyed perusing your website... looks like you are engaged in really great work with your horses!


Posted by htobin (not verified) | 05/29/2012 @ 06:03 AM

I think this is going to be some great research. I look forward to seeing the publication. Congratulations. This is an important aspect that needs to be understood in cardiac rehabilitation.
Stress is a reisk factor that we know affects our arterial health but it is not a number that we can measure. Starting an integrative approach versus a conventional approach should yield better success.
<a href="http://heartfitclinic.com">Cardiac rehabilitation</a> programs are important to treating heart disease and the more integrative it is the better outcomes we shall find.
Giving hope is the most important thing and connecting with people will truly help people <a href="http://heartfitclinic.com>reverse heart disease</a>.

I wish you lots of success and I can see your passion with horses.

Posted by Diamond (not verified) | 05/30/2012 @ 07:54 PM

I look forward to reading this! Is there a place online or through a library that it could be access before it is published in a journal? 


I'm currently working on my dissertation exploring the potential for growth and healing through time spent with horses. I'm looking for someone to serve as a consultant on my dissertation committee, but school requirements state that they must have a PsyD or PhD in psychology. Have you worked with or encountered anyone in your research that might fit those criteria? 

Posted by Katie Darling (not verified) | 06/03/2012 @ 04:40 PM