Animals have been used along with physical therapy
for decades. It is common to see small farms or petting
zoos double as places for assisting those who are in
Horses are popular for disabled children. Farms catering
to those with special needs are growing due to the great
and positive results achieved. Dolphins are giving researchers
and therapists opportunities to break new ground through
dolphin assisted therapy.
There is also a new trend for such physiotherapy. Humans
have been swimming with genteel dolphins for decades.
It seems that only in recent years have researchers
noticed how the dolphin interacts with those who have
Dolphins have it in their nature to be curious and
sociable. Their lesser known traits are patience and
an inner sense of their environment. Physiotherapy researchers
noticed that dolphins seem to exhibit an extra degree
of protectiveness towards individuals who are physically
disabled. Pregnant women are also known to gain extra
attention from these marine mammals.
Researchers are careful to emphasize that the results
will vary for each individual. The results of their
studies continue to reflect amazing potential. Non-verbal
individuals have often spoken their first words to dolphins.
Seemingly unaffectionate individuals have gradually
learned to cope or even show affection.
These studies have also showed some patients developing
greater motor skills when introduced to dolphin assisted
therapy. Cancer patients have found relief from the
emotional isolation they may feel. Patients with multiple
sclerosis and autism have all responded positively.
Dolphin assisted therapy, also called DAT, is most
often conducted with the help of a marine biologist
as well as a physical therapist. The individual receiving
the therapy is given the standard physical exercises,
but they are allowed physical contact with the dolphin
at the same time.
Scientists are currently exploring the use of dolphins
in a therapeutic setting. There are no guarantees of
results when using dolphins as with any other animal.
The dolphin's 'healing' powers have been attributed
to a range of factors.
Some theories believe it is merely the dolphin's affection
and tolerance that brings such positive results. Other
rumors suggest that the dolphin's natural sonar actually
triggers a healing response from within the human body.
Advocates of this therapy cite many areas of improvement
for patients. Many believe this form of therapy can
boost the immune system. Some state it can increase
learning capacity from 3 to 11 percent. Advocates also
believe this learning capacity brings a knowledge retention
rate of around 50 percent a year.
Reports have been submitted for years that dolphins
have helped humans swimming in the ocean. These include
such acts as offering protection against sharks to pushing
injured swimmers safely to shore. When you consider
their biology it is easy to see how dolphins may associate
humans with their own kind.
Dolphins live in groups that are called pods. They
carry one offspring at a time and nurse them after birth.
Dolphins are warm blooded like humans. They protect
and care for one another just as humans do.
There are two options available for swimming with dolphins.
There are many vacation locations that will take you
to popular swimming spots for wild dolphin interaction.
Dolphin assisted therapy always occurs in a captive
dolphin facility. Disabled individuals or even those
who can't swim are usually treated to swimming with
these beautiful animals in shallow areas.
Dolphin assisted therapy is not a promise of success.
It does offer the potential to bring much joy into the
lives of the disabled. These caring and gentle animals
of the ocean can urge development in areas that may
not see stimulation in other circumstances.
About the Author
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