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  • Writer's pictureMonique Verhoef, RTC

The Magic of Animal-Assisted Therapy

Pets can make your nervous system release the ‘feel good’ brain chemicals, known as endorphins. Tests has shown that when we interact with an animal, endorphins are released that bind to and activate opioid receptors, a chemical that binds to the receptors in the central and peripheral nervous system. This provides an opioid (morphine-like) sensation, however without the nasty side effects. In addition our stress hormones like cortisol decrease.

Difference between human and pets:

This study actually indicates that humans feel more at ease when an animal is brought into the room. They are less likely tol say: “Hey, haven’t you figured it out yet?” Or “Come on, are you still in pain because you are sad?” Animals don’t judge and often bring a fun or calm neutral energy to the room. No human or even a friend can beat that! In fact the fear of failing in front of a human or friend would create more stress then in presence of an animal. So pet therapy can be very useful. In addition other animal therapies where people looked after animals may create improvement in focus, mood and confidence just by being the caregiver.

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