Pet-therapy: terminology, principles, types

In Russia, the term "pet therapy" is replaced by the familiar word "zootherapy". Distinguish between directed zootherapy and non-directional. Targeted pet therapy includes whole therapeutic programs using specially trained animals. Non-directional zootherapy is a person’s easy communication with animals at home.


Principles of pet-therapy: do not harm either the patient or the animal and get the maximum positive effect. Popular therapy techniques are considered communication with horses (hippotherapy) and dolphins (dolphin therapy).


The uniqueness of hippotherapy is that the horse’s spinal muscles during walking make more than 100 oscillatory and vibrating movements, sending motor impulses to the muscles of the rider. Thus, the rider increases blood flow in the pelvic organs, coordination and posture is formed. In patients with cerebral palsy, for example, hippotherapy uses muscles that are passive in everyday life.


Hippotherapy is recommended as a rehabilitation for patients with head injuries, cerebral palsy, blood supply disorders, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy. According to numerous studies, already after the first month of continuous horse riding lessons, patients experience a decrease in mental stress, an improvement in motor reflexes and general power parameters, and blood pressure stabilizes.


The peculiarity of dolphin therapy is in the inaccessible to the human hearing ultrasonic waves, which dolphins use to communicate with the outside world. Studies show that already in the first seconds of swimming with dolphins in humans, the bioelectric activity of the brain and the production of the “hormone of happiness” increase.


Dolphin therapy is indicated for early childhood autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, marked disorders of the central nervous system and various neuroses.


However, it is worth noting that dolphin therapy is an expensive pleasure. In addition, not all cities have dolphinariums. Therefore, people resort to more accessible methods:canistherapy(from Englishcanis- dog) andfeline therapy(from Englishfelis- cat).


Rehabilitation of children with psycho-neurological disorders by communicating with dogs has been spread ascynology. Depending on the diagnosis, instructors select a special exercise program: speech, physical, etc. Sincere devotion and unlimited caress of a dog helps sick children to overcome social maladjustment.


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And cats themselves do not need specialized commands and training. According to research, the cat's purr (like the dolphin's sonar) has the unique ability to give a person a feeling of comfort and security.


Communication with cats strengthens the immune and nervous systems. Stroking a cat, for example, eliminates nervous tension and fatigue. Many people note that the cats themselves come to the person and lie down on the sore spot, and the pain immediately subsides.


No wonder some scientists compare the thermal radiation of a cat with the therapeutic effect of electromagnetic devices. But is it possible to compare the living warmth of a tender ball of wool with some kind of insensitive device? Love and take care of your pets, and they will someday save your life.