Here's why animal-assisted therapy should be made a norm
Animals are a great source of healing for an individual. Nowadays, AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) is a trend that has helped several people come out of emotional or physical stress and trauma. It involves spending time with an animal to reach the desired goal. Also known as pet therapy, the procedure has helped many patients improve their wellness quotient. Let's explore more.
- Did you know the fact that animals cast a positive effect on humans goes way back to 1600?
- Animals have always been used to promote calmness and elevate the emotional well-being of an individual.
- Even films like Top Dog, Dunston Checks In, among others have shown a great bond between animals and human beings.
- Evidently, animals can become healers, if trained well.
The therapy can be used for people who suffer from different stress modalities such as behavioral problems, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorders, etc. In many cases, people who suffer from Parkinson's disease or have dementia issues have also benefited from the procedure. Depression and anxiety are the common causes among all the patients who opt for AAT or pet therapy.
The animal can be a dog, hamster, or a horse, depending on a patient's comfort level. However, the session starts after the therapist studies the case history. The session involves the pet owner or the handler, who follows the doctor's guidance and helps the patient get comfortable with the animal. The patient can gently stoke the animal or even talk to make themselves comfortable.
When a person touches an animal, hormones like oxytocin or serotonin are released into the body, which help uplift the mood. Gently petting also helps in relaxing your mind, bringing a sense of comfort. People who suffer from memory loss might also get help in recalling important past events. It can also be a refreshing change to the mundane life of the patients.
The treatment can be taken in individual or group settings. Apart from physiological benefits, AAT can also help in slowing down breathing for people who go through stress. Interestingly, the animals who help in the sessions are given a reward after the therapy. It might include their favorite food or toy. Dogs are found most preferable as most of them are easy-going and engaging.