Specialists have studied and associated different benefits a patient can gain interacting with their dog, cat or horse. Animals have a significant role in human health and well-being. Patients who interact with them have positive outcomes regardless of the problems they face. Let our specialist at America’s rehab campuses Tuscon help you navigate this aspect of your life.
Understanding Animal-Assisted Therapy
Currently, specialists use animal-assisted therapy in conjunction with traditional physiotherapy treatment options for behavioral and mental recovery.
Dogs are the commonly used animals in AAT, though other animals like cats, fish, horses, and pigs are also an option. ATT involves specialists capable of integrating animals into therapy and aims to improve humans’ physical, social, emotional and cognitive function.
Conditions it can help treat include cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s, mental disorders, depression, and heart conditions. It helps patients fight anxiety and depression and induces a feeling of happiness and calmness.
Here are the benefits of animal-assisted therapy:
Patients can gain an emotional boost (among other mental health benefits) just by cuddling a dog or cat. For most people, getting around animals triggers the brain to release oxytocin, prolactin, and serotonin—hormones responsible for alleviating stress and inducing relaxation. The Whole hormone release process seeks to combat symptoms of sadness and depression and support proper mental health.
Additionally, happy hormones will alleviate anxiety. That means you’ll feel less lonely and relaxed during treatment. These are challenging moments, and the animal provides the utmost comfort and distraction from harmful thoughts.
On the other hand, animal-assisted therapy aims to help patients with mental health blocks welcome treatment. It reduces initial resistance to therapy, as the animal “breaks the ice” during first visits.
Lastly, in-patients with dementia struggle with agitation (90% struggle with agitation). Most interact with therapy dogs which helps them mitigate negative behavior.
Animal-assisted therapy helps individuals advance their skills regardless of the type of therapy. It motivates them to take on particularly hard routines (uncomfortable exercises in physical therapy, for example) when interacting with a pet. It prompts their body to release oxytocin, a hormone capable of increasing pain threshold so that they bulldoze through therapy programs.
Children (especially ones with neurological differences) might only choose to communicate when an animal is around. They can create spontaneous communication when animals are around because they relate better to them. Therefore, a savvy therapist will include an animal in a therapy session to boost engagement and encourage communication.
Animal-assisted therapy aims to speed up healing and mitigate the severity of certain health conditions. For example, studies find visits with a therapy dog capable of improving cardiovascular health (in patients with heart issues), lowering stress hormones, and reducing blood pressure.
These visits can help manage various health conditions independently and reduce the medication some patients require.
Seek Animal Assisted Therapy Today
In conjunction with other types of therapy, animal-assisted therapy can help you learn about yourself—offer ways to find happiness and generate ideas on managing and overcoming addiction.