Dolphin Therapy: Benefits And Criticisms

Dolphin therapy is recommended for its calming effect and because it promotes the development of mental activity 
Dolphin therapy: benefits and criticisms

Animal therapies ( pet therapy ) are extremely useful in case of ailments and pathologies. In particular, dolphin therapy is a therapeutic approach that makes use of the help of dolphins and which is used with people with physical or mental disabilities.

The dolphin therapy is performed in specialized centers or designated areas in the water parks, where doctors and psychologists work together with the patient and dolphins.

Dolphin-assisted intervention is recommended for its calming effect and because it promotes the development of mental activity in patients with certain pathologies.

What does dolphin therapy consist of?

This therapeutic approach involves the patient, a dolphin (of the species Tursiops truncatus or “bottle-nosed dolphin”) and a team made up, generally, of psychologists and / or doctors. It is therefore a form of aquatic therapy that emphasizes sensory activity.

Typically , dolphin therapy is used with children with autism or with psychomotor difficulties. However, it is also extended to adults with clinical pictures of depression or post-traumatic stress.

Child practices dolphin therapy

The session is organized according to different modalities, duration and positions. There are water parks that offer dolphin therapy as part of individual and personalized interaction programs (based on the needs of the child or the patient in general).

Other centers, on the other hand, are also specialized in other forms of pet therapy . Finally, some structures develop the program in a virtual way thanks to access to virtual or simulated reality.

Studies by British researchers have found significant benefits of swimming with dolphins for autistic children. US physician John C. Lilly conducted a series of experiments on dolphins and children with mental disabilities. Through an a posteriori encephalogram, Lilly highlighted an improvement in the speech, mood and movement of these children following the experience with animals.

Similarly, scientist David Cole attributed ultrasound frequencies to the dolphin’s sound that stimulate the central nervous system through the cavitation hypothesis. There are also other experiments that link the communication system of this cetacean with the human neuronal network.

What are the benefits of dolphin therapy?

In addition to those already mentioned, dolphin therapy boasts many other benefits. These include the promotion of the release of endorphins by ultrasound action and, therefore, an improvement in the patient’s mood. The same action would also improve the symptoms of attention deficit disorder and anxiety. As for the physical benefits, the aquatic environment and the presence of the dolphin help mitigate pain caused by physical injury or drug addiction.

In general, the benefits refer mainly to mental, emotional and physical well-being. It has been shown that contact with animals is useful in the treatment of any type of intellectual, physical or social disability and assisted intervention with the dog is one of the most used forms of therapy in centers specialized in pet therapy .

The unconditional affection of the animal is very good for children. In addition to developing a sense of responsibility, they improve their ability to feel empathy.

Woman swims with dolphins

Criticisms of Delphin Therapy

Animal therapy is not exempt from criticisms and conflicting opinions from above all two groups:

  • The community for animal rights : For animal advocates, any form of imprisonment of wild animals is reprehensible. In the case of dolphins, which they consider a non-domesticated species, they refuse their capture and confinement in aquatic and zoological parks. They argue that the benefits people get from it don’t matter if the dolphins are paying the price.
  • The scientific community : not all scientists agree on the influence of ultrasound on the human neuronal network because there are no specific studies related to this hypothesis. It is also important to note that there is no evidence of permanent improvement in autism symptoms.

However, it is undisputed that contact with animals is of great benefit to us from a spiritual and emotional point of view. Although it is difficult to establish the exact impact of this contact, certainly the research conducted so far is positive.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button