Most people love playing with pets, but did you know that spending time with animals could have therapeutic benefits as well? For post-surgical patients, animal-assisted therapy can offer benefits ranging from lowered blood pressure to reduced anxiety.
We here at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction think that animal-assisted therapy can be a beneficial part of our patients’ holistic care regimens. Anything that reduces stress and promotes wellness sounds like a good idea to us!
So exactly what is animal-assisted therapy?
According to the Mayo Clinic,
pet therapy “uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems.” Patients spend some quality time with trained animals, and are encouraged to pet or play with the animals and interact with their handlers. Animal-assisted therapy is recommended for patients receiving chemotherapy or physical therapy, and also for patients dealing with mental health issues.
Some benefits of animal therapy
- Decreased feelings of depression and loneliness
- Decreased stress levels
- Decreased blood pressure
- Lowered heart rate
Not to mention, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that interacting and playing with animals promotes general wellbeing in patients. It’s easy to see how a friendly, furry face could help melt some cares away just by being a comforting and affectionate friend to lean on in tough times.
Animal-Assisted Therapy Resources in Charleston, SC
Pet therapy usually takes place in hospital or group meet-and-greet settings. If you are interested in enlisting the help of a furry friend to help you on your way to recovery, there are several resources for animal-assisted therapy in the Charleston, South Carolina, area.
- Love on a Leash is an organization of therapy dogs and workers with chapters across the U.S. Contact your local chapter to see if they will be visiting a facility near you soon.
- Paws 2 Care is a volunteer organization that brings therapy dogs to locations throughout South Carolina.
- Pet Therapy in Columbia is a resource that connects people to therapy teams in the Columbia, SC area.
- Here is a list of several doctors and programs that offer animal-assisted therapy in South Carolina.
- SC Dogs is a volunteer organization that regularly visits facilities such as rehab centers and mental health programs.
Even if you don’t take part in an organized therapy session, you might find the same positive health benefits by spending more time with animals in your daily life.
Whether you adopt a new best friend, start spending more quality time with your dog at the park, or volunteer at a local pet shelter, you might find that these activities have a positive impact on your moods.
If you feel as if you could benefit from animal-assisted therapy, why not give it a try?
Contact your doctor or insurance provider to see if there are any other animal-assisted therapy services available in your area! And let us know in the comments how your furry friend has helped you heal.