Everything You Need to Know About Animal Therapy

 

 

 Thelma Balmaceda, age, 4, pets Viola, the resident canine at the Children's Inn on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Families stay at the inn when their children are undergoing experimental therapies at NIH.

Source: NPR

Normally, we think of therapy only in the form of human intervention, but did you know that animals have the ability to help us cope with tough situations too? These animals, known as therapy or service animals, are trained to help and support us with our daily life.

How does it actually help us?

From a mental health perspective, animal therapy works on the bond that animals and humans already share. This helps us feel better by releasing endorphins, just like how we feel when we’re with our loved ones. Studies indicate that it can also reduce blood pressure and  social anxiety and help people with their social skills.

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Source: Animal Angels Foundation

But that’s not all!

Animal therapy isn’t significant to just mental health; it also helps hone physical abilities such as improving motor skills and helping those who are differently abled with daily tasks and movements. They are also known to help with behavioral issues in children.

To summarize, animal therapy can improve overall health and well-being. It can help people feel less depressed, isolated and helpless and turn those feelings into happiness, improved self-esteem and empowerment.

The most common therapy animals are dogs, but is not limited to them. Some people have cats, horses, birds and so on. It’s important to check with your healthcare provider and find out what works best for you.

11232-yzkxloamnw-1555660324Source: Homegrown

 

In India, animal therapy is a relatively new concept. But fret not, as there are quite a few places that provide this service!

Animal Angels Foundation in Mumbai is one such place. With a team of 4 psychologists and 20 dogs, Animal Angels Foundation specializes in animal assisted therapy – an alternate therapy used in conjunction with other conventional ones, especially for children. They work with a range of schools and mental health centers, conducting frequent workshops.

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Source: Animal Angels Foundation

Another such place is the Manav Foundation, who work in conjunction with AAF. They even had a cat named Simba, who was a co-therapist! He has unfortunately passed since, but the foundation continues to help those in need.69645206_2444526835623000_459173514801315840_n

These centers aim to bring about awareness about the pros of animal therapy and to help remove the stigma around needing help. You are not alone!

 

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