The search for effective treatments are never ending, whether we’re discussing physical, mental, or emotional pain. But some techniques have been used successfully for hundreds of years — pet therapy has been around since ancient Greece!
If you’re considering enlisting the assistance of a furry friend, you might be asking yourself what the advantages really are. According to formal research that has been ongoing since the 60s, there are many major benefits worth your consideration.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
The act of caring for, petting, and playing with animals has been shown to have a dramatic positive impact on the stress levels of patients, or even just pet owners in general. Caring for a pet is soothing, and the reward of nosing, purrs, paws, and cuddling are all great ways to release endorphins, which leads to less stress.
Staving Off Depression
Those suffering from depression deal with a sense of listlessness and boredom on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. The responsibility of caring for a pet, and how rewarding that responsibility can be, has shown excellent results in those dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, and similar conditions.
Increased Healthy Physical Activity
Every animal, whether we’re talking dogs, cats, or even snuggly pocket pets, require some level of engagement and play. The caregiver has to participate on some level, which not only ensures a good, healthy level of responsibility is maintained, but also prompts the owner to take part in some physical activity as well. This benefit can be massive, whether you’re simply playing catch, walking, or even jogging around with your therapy animal.
Reduced Blood Pressure
Less stress and more physical activity are both major pillars of reducing blood pressure and keeping it at healthy levels. This can help stave off even severe conditions including heart attack, heart failure, and other coronary complications.
Self-Esteem and Social Benefits
A loss of confidence is common for many patients with a variety of conditions. Physical limitations, mental complications, depression— all of these can leave the sufferer feeling lost and powerless, which leads to a poor self image that tends to worsen as time goes on. The responsibility of caring for a pet is simultaneously simple overall, and extremely rewarding both in the long- and short-term. This can lead to a renewed sense of self, a higher opinion of oneself, and better social interactions overall.