Man's Best Friend and Medicine?
edited: Monday, July 14, 2003
By Anastacia Lee
Posted: Monday, July 14, 2003
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Join Anastacia Lee as she ventures into a subject that has not yet been accepted by all. She shows how the presence of an animal can have intense positive affects on those who are in need.
Can there possibly be a new approach to healing the mentally and physically challenged? Perhaps. Although a professional should most definitely be sought, there may be another alternative. It’s called Pet Therapy.
It is well known that certain animals, particularly dogs, are used to help the blind or as assistance animals to help those in wheelchairs. Now, many are finding other “medical” uses for animals. What exactly is a therapy animal? According to WWW.MENTAL-HEALTH-MATTERS.COM, the definition is that a therapy animal has the necessary skills and aptitude to facilitate therapy under the direction of a health care or human services professional. Also, therapy animals are not owned by the people or organizations that they serve. Volunteers own them.
While dogs may be the most common known form of animal assistance, they’re not the only ones who can be of help. Many of other animals such as cats, rabbits, goats, horses, pigs, and even domestic rats have been of service and registered as therapy animals.
This may all sound strange and probably does. How could a domestic rat actually help a person’s mental or physical state? It’s really quite simple. For someone who is physically challenged, having an animal in the house or visit the hospital can not only bring a smile to there face, but can help them to move their fingers more easily and strengthen their hands just by petting the animal or horseback riding can help with coordination. When an animal is present, people are also able to relax more. Watching fish in an aquarium or a cat play with a ball of yarn has even been shown to be quite calming. Tests have also shown a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure due to their presence.
When it comes to the mental state of people, there are many ways in which it has been shown that pets can have a positive affect on them. As found at WWW.THE INFINITEMIND.COM, a study showed that when hospitals put a fish tank in the rooms of Alzheimer’s patients, their food intake increased by more than 25%. The patients would, instead of wandering around the room ignoring the food, sit in one spot and eat while staring at the fish.
Also, WWW.HOLISTIC-ONLINE.COM states that animals can also help with one’s self-esteem. While people are judgmental or not always so forgiving, animals are. They tend to accept you for who you are. They say that caring for a pet teaches those who have never been nurtured or taught nurturing skills by their parents.
In cases of the sexually abused, where being touched by another just doesn’t seem to be acceptable or allowable yet, the warm, fluffy feeling of an animal can be. In cases such as these, having physical contact is important to get through the pain. So, rather than having none, why not have them interact with a dog or a cat, so they too can feel loved and safe again.
Once thought of nuisances or dirty, animals of all kinds have shown to be nothing short of small miracles. They not only provide comfortability and a safe feeling for the disabled, they provide a great source of companionship, unconditional love, and support for those in need. For those not in need of the theraputical aspect, they still provide plenty of love, fun and loyalty!
The topic of Health discussed here is only the opinion of the author. Please consult a professional before taking the advice of the author.