Animal Therapy


What is animal therapy?

Animal therapy uses animals to help people recover from or cope with certain physical and mental health conditions. It taps physical, psychological, physiological, and emotional components during treatment. Bonding with animals as a form of treatment is a relatively new practice. It emerged in the alternative health scene just in the 1990s. However, the idea of animal-assisted treatment began as far back as the 1850s. Then, Florence Nightingale wrote about how wounded soldiers coped better when they had "animal companions." Later on, in the 1960s, psychologist Boris Levinson observed how his patients opened up more easily whenever his pet dog, Jingles, was around. Aside from giving comfort, interacting with animals may also help boost cardiovascular health, encourage all forms of communication, and help develop motor skills and joint movement. 

How does it work?

Several studies say that animal therapy helps reduce pain and emotional distress in people. For residents in nursing care facilities, bonding with animals eases loneliness. A study found that patients who undergo chemotherapy generally prefer to have a therapy dog in the room with them. Practitioners maintain that this kind of treatment reduces levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, adrenaline, and aldosterone. It also may increase levels of "happy hormones" such as endorphin, dopamine, and oxytocin. 

What can you expect during a session?

The most common therapy animals are dogs and cats. However, other animals can also offer comfort. There are also horses, parrots, rabbits, guinea pigs and even reptiles. Each therapy session is unique to the person's needs. Usually, though, sessions involve interacting with the animals through play and hugs. Dogs and cats may be brought in to help a person open up, deal with difficult emotions, and relieve PTSD symptoms. Horses will require an individual's total attention, giving them a break from disruptive thoughts. Birds, especially parrots, are actually empathetic animals. Touching and cuddling them gives people tremendous emotional support. Reptiles, the newest therapy animals, provide a break from mental, emotional, and physical struggles since caring for them needs incredible commitment and focus. 

Which conditions can animal therapy help?

  • Anger

  • Abuse

  • ADD

  • Addiction

  • ADHD

  • Anxiety

  • Autism

  • Dementia

  • Depression

  • Eating disorder

  • Grief

  • Panic attack

  • PTSD

  • Sleep disorder

  • Stress

  • Trauma

Animal therapy can also improve health and wellness, as well as mindset, and raise your self-confidence. 

Find Natural Health and Lifestyle Hacks at Everything Alternative
Follow Us: Facebook • Instagram