There is no doubt about it, when you hug an animal you feel at peace. They have this amazing ability to help heal not only humans but also each other. You see the stories all the time about abandoned animals from one species being taken in to be nurtured and raised by the other. It is this unconditional love that allows them to be the best holistic healers on this earth. Whether they are volunteering in facilities such as hospitals and old folks homes, visiting students during exam time, or even making a quick trip to the accountants' office during tax season, therapy animals are leaving a bigger and bigger impression in the world on a regular basis.
We have all been there, smiling to ourselves when a dog cuddles up to us or flops on his back for some belly scratches, or when a kitty finally warms up enough to you and sits on your lap purring her little heart out. Recall how that moment felt. That pure happiness throughout your mind, body, and soul. There are so many physical and mental health benefits that therapy animals can provide, whether you find yourself needing a companion, having a way to calm down in high anxiety and stressful situations, or you are overcoming a trauma.
Whether you have a live-in therapy animal or a visitor, here are some of the amazing benefits that your companion is providing for you.
Physical And Mental Benefits
Decreases Anxiety and Helps Depression
When we are experiencing something that is making us feel happy our body releases calming endorphins called oxytocin. When being comforted and supported by a therapy animal, we find that this release is happening frequently, allowing the lifting our spirits and moving us to heal from anxieties and depression
Lowers Blood Pressure
Along with the release of oxytocin, your body enters a state of calm and relaxation while petting, cuddling, or even just being around a therapy animal. It is this state of calmness that allows your blood pressure to lower and you to feel more relaxed than ever.
Lowers Physical Pain
It is actually the combination of the aforementioned oxytocin release and lowered blood pressure that allows your body to heal areas that are inflicted with pain. In turn, this combination lowers any aches and discomforts you may have. Even just the act of petting an animal produces this relaxation response, which is directly linked to decreasing pain and irritation.
Encourages Communication and Connectivity
Having an animal company allows you to practice and perfect speech and communication. When you are in a non-judgemental environment with your therapy animal you start to build confidence in your abilities. It is this confidence that will help you overcome obstacles and become more comfortable with socializing yourself.
Types of therapy animals
While dogs, cats, and horses are the most widely known therapy animals, it doesn’t actually stop there. There are many cases all around the world that shows truly any animal can be a therapy animal. For example, we have seen llamas, alpacas, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, monkeys, and even a squirrel.
Animals don’t have segregation, they just know how to love and how to be loved.