In today’s stressful world, more and more people are living with their pets in search of healing. In particular, women living alone, couples without children, and couples after their children have left the house as members of society often have pets such as dogs and cats.
For these people, pets provide a great deal of comfort in their daily lives.
“Animal therapy” is attracting attention in the media these days. In a broad sense, it refers to the case where the relationship with animals improves the quality of human health.
It is sometimes called “pet therapy”, but strictly speaking, animal therapy has a proper definition.
Animal-assisted therapy (Animal Assisted Therapy = AAT)
Experts (doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, psychotherapists, etc.) take the lead in “animals play a role in medical treatment for humans”, and the cooperation of volunteers with animals It is originally a treatment.
Animal-assisted activities (Animal Assisted Activity = AAA)
Volunteers with animals visit facilities for the elderly, facilities for the disabled, children’s facilities, etc., and perform recreation such as interacting with animals and performing arts. It provides the opportunity to improve quality of life (QOL) and deliver emotional, educational, physical and sometimes therapeutic effects.
Healing effect by animals
It is often the case that interacting with and playing with animals can improve mental illness and physical discomfort. For this reason, it is also positioned as an aid to mental and physical treatment, and has recently been adopted in many places including medical facilities.
Specifically, the following effects can be expected.
- Relaxation, sensory stimulation and improved response
- Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, recovering from illness
- Rehabilitation of nerve and muscle tissue
- Relax and reduce anxiety
- Restoration of confidence and motivation
- Recovery of emotional expression
- Positive emotions such as self-esteem and sense of responsibility sprout and promote psychological independence
- Children’s emotional education (sense of accomplishment, happiness)
- Get cooperative
- Promote physical and financial independence
- Language activation
Let’s energize various animals!
Horses that have been active as good human partners for a long time. In fact, the shaking felt when riding a walking horse has been attracting attention since the 19th century as it gives good stimulation to the body and brain.
And now, in many countries around the world, such “riding therapy” is being utilized for physical rehabilitation and treatment of neuropathy.
Recently, it seems that more and more facilities are incorporating horseback riding experiences into their programs with the cooperation of horseback riding clubs, especially as a psychological and educational approach for children with disabilities.
Feeling refreshed if you experience the “natural rhythm played by horses” that resonates comfortably with us humans. There are many places where you can easily experience horseback riding, such as zoos, amusement parks, and ranches, so if you are interested, you should definitely give it a try.
When we talk about “healing animals,” many people think of dolphins first.
There is a theory that dolphins can identify people with mental illness and relieve their symptoms, and in the United States, there is a program to swim with dolphins as a treatment for depression and autism. Dolphins are smart and curious creatures that play with you while understanding their feelings, so you can enjoy communication that is different from interpersonal relationships.
In addition, there is a research report that when you hear the dolphin’s bark, you can “relax and sleep well”, so if you have difficulty sleeping or if you continue to be frustrated, it is recommended to use the environmental CD containing the dolphin’s bark as BGM. ..
If you get tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, go bird watching. There is a lot of nature in the spots where you can do bird watching such as natural parks. Beautiful nature heals the mind with birds flying freely in the sky.
Dogs and cats
Many dogs and cats contribute to animal therapy.
- A child with autism began to live with a dog and regained a smile
- An elderly person who was bedridden and unwilling to move reached out to stroke the cat.
- When I took my dog to the elderly home, conversations increased.
If you can’t keep a dog or cat …
For example, there are cases where dogs and cats cannot be kept for various reasons, such as housing conditions not allowing them or having animal allergies. Why not keep small animals such as tropical fish, birds, rabbits and hamsters?
Of course, feeding and taking care of the parakeets will make you feel more attached to them, and when you are tired, the parakeets will be adorable and you will feel relieved just by making gestures.
If you can’t do that, you can sprinkle some loaf of bread on your balcony or garden and watch wild birds such as sparrows come to eat it. It is not always important to keep them, but to interact with animals.