Why are animals good healers

We’ve all heard about the therapist’s couch and the dynamics between client and human therapist. Pet therapy is perhaps increasingly unknown. This is not a treatment for your pet, but a relatively new phenomenon of treatment for humans which includes animals.

These animal-assisted interventions or AAIs (animal-assisted interventions Engaging a trained human professional has been shown to be beneficial for people of all ages and results in a significant reduction in physiological responses to stress — such as heart rate — and associated emotions, such as fear.

It is an age-old and widely accepted fact that people of all ages can benefit from partnering with animals as companion animals. From the joys of human-animal bonding, to companionship and improved mental health, there is no doubt that cats, dogs and other pets enrich our lives immeasurably.

But in the past decade, animals have also begun to help people in places other than the home — such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, universities, prisons, and rehabilitation centers.

dog therapy

A recent hospital study set out to examine whether dog therapy had any effect on patients’ well-being, most (about 70 percent) of whom were hospitalized and waiting in hospital bed, and all were in pain.

Each received a ten-minute visit from a therapy dog ​​in addition to their usual hospital care. Using a detailed psychological examination, the researchers assessed patients’ condition immediately before, immediately after, and 20 minutes after the visit. They found it encouraging that patients reported significant reductions in pain, anxiety and depression after the dog’s visit for treatment — and an increase in overall well-being.

Dog therapy can also lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Cats and horses help too

Over the past decade, cats have also joined the AAI movement – and they have been used in places like schools and nursing homes to improve well-being. Just having a cat has been shown to improve mood and reduce loneliness. Playing with a cat, and physical contact through petting and cuddling, can be calming, especially in children and frail elderly patients in long-term care.

In fact, even a cat’s purr can bring emotional relief, especially when we’re feeling stressed.

A study of patients with chronic age-related disabilities in a nursing home found that those who received a cat treatment session three times a week for six weeks had improved symptoms of depression and a significant decrease in blood pressure.

Equine therapy is particularly useful for young people with psychological and behavioral problems. In many cases, young people who have not benefited from traditional conversation-based therapy may experience benefits – particularly an increased sense of calmness and emotional control – when participating in equine therapy, learning how to communicate and how to interact with horses. You must take care of them.

Therapy horseback riding also provides physical and emotional benefits to children with disabilities as it helps improve their balance, posture, and hand-eye coordination. It can also help children gain confidence and become more socially aware.

Therapeutic horse riding has also been shown to improve symptoms of PTSD in adults. Equine therapy, which involves feeding, caring, and guiding the horse rather than riding, can help people address and change negative behaviors, such as those associated with addiction.

good healers

Building relationships and social bonds through social contact and human interaction is an important part of maintaining and improving our mental health.

When left to their own devices, animals also create and maintain and enhance emotional relationships and connections with others. We’re very lucky – when it comes to dogs, cats, and horses – this tendency extends to humans as well, as long as we behave in a way that is comfortable for the animal. And science has shown that they can also understand what goes into our interactions with them.

Horses can read and adapt to human emotions. They can even get to know a person by watching that person interact with another horse and modifying their behavior accordingly – eg, by approaching and touching that person more if they seem uncomfortable with the other horse.

Research on dogs and cats shows that they can also read and respond to our body language, facial expressions, and voices.

Part of the fun of bonding with an animal is discovering who they are and what they love – and it goes without saying that their well-being should always be a top priority. But if you think you have a super therapy pet in the pipeline, consider reaching out to an animal therapy organization near you. They will be happy to meet you and your animal friend.

This article originally appeared in The Conversation.

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