The therapy that uses animals in enhancing the physical, emotional, and social-being of any individual is called Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). Through this program, it helps individuals to strengthen their confidence, discover any anxiety symptoms, and improve their healing processes. Therapy sessions naturally consist of the therapist and the pet with its handler and the patient.
Animal Assisted Therapy is usually used to encourage socialization and improves the overall well-being of individuals. Before deciding to apply for Animal Assisted Therapy program, we must know what it does. The following are some of the benefits of animal therapy for individuals.
Help improves physical health
Pets can help individuals to move more, stretch farther, and exercise longer. Dogs are one of the most common therapy pets. Stroke survivors are people who can benefit from it. These pets can give comfort and motivation to the survivors for their faster recovery. Dogs who are trained for therapy purposes can aid a stroke survivor with their stroke recovery programs and exercises.
These pets can also help them with some simple activities. Brushing the dog’s fur, feeding them and snapping the dog’ leash are things that they can do together. This “things-to-do” can become their hand exercise, assist decrease spasticity and increase motor recovery. Not just for stroke survivors but these activities can become a physical therapy for everyone.
Helps improve mental health
Reducing blood pressure and lowering anxiety, these are just some of the benefits one can get in undergoing animal therapy. Animals can have a cheering and calming effect on individuals, and this is the reason why many nursing homes and hospitals are now using AAT programs. It also encourages individuals to communicate more often.
Because of this program, it helps children overcome any speech disorders. Therapy pets are trained well to help individuals with mental illnesses and other mental health conditions such as Alzheimer’s, PTSD, depression, and individuals with autism.
One study showed that a person with Alzheimer’s who spends more time with therapy dogs has increased his recounting memories. It also helped him improve the quality of how they live their lives. Some may not believe that pets are helpful in this manner, but science has proven it as such.
Provides psychological and physiological benefits
Research also has shown that with the use of therapy pets for individuals, it can decrease their stress levels. It can also help in the reduction of anger and aggravation, decrease hostility toward self, and improve social relations. Another benefit is that the therapy can help reduce the heart rate and release of beta-endorphins, enhanced self-esteem, and trust in others for the individual.
Dogs, cats, horses, and even dolphins are typically used for animal-assisted therapies. Depending on what pet is needed, treatments can take place in hospitals, institutions, or even at your own home. It is essential that the animal and the client are compatible with each other. Also, it is necessary to check if the client has animal allergies. It will be a disastrous session in case the client has cat fur issues and the therapy animal to be used, well you guessed it, is a cat!