Animal Assisted Therapy: When Animals Help Us Heal

Doctors sometimes use dogs to supplement the treatment of various illnesses. This method called Animal Assisted Therapy is still little known in France but very present in the United States.

“Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a method of intervention used as an auxiliary to conventional therapies where the animal plays the role of mediator between the therapist and the person in need. The animal is considered here as a “therapeutic assistant. » Definition of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT or zootherapy).

Until now, the beneficial nature of Animal Assisted Therapy had never been proven. Very present in the United States, the TAA had obtained anecdotal successes for a few years. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference Exhibition on October 25, 2015 in Washington was instrumental in providing evidence that dogs actually have a therapeutic effect.

Indeed, researchers from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have provided a comprehensive study of two groups of children aged 3 to 17 who were recently diagnosed with cancer. The 68 individuals were placed either in a control group (not receiving AAT) or in the second group treated with AAT.

Interactions with the dog consist, for example, of talking to him, brushing him, or giving him simple orders. Through photos and information, it is also about increasing the knowledge of young patients about dogs.

The scientists thus observed and analyzed certain data in order to validate the positive effect of the dogs on the patients. Were taken into account the blood pressure, but also the heart rate or the level of anxiety of the patients before and after the session with the dog. Measurements were also made with the control group.

“This study is an important step in understanding the benefits of the bond between humans and animals” says Dr. McCullough, one of the study’s researchers.

The various results show a more stable blood pressure compared to the control group, that these children remain less tense and calmer than the children who did not follow the AAT program, or that the parents of the treated group found less anxious than those in the control group.

Sources: Sciences et Avenir — Top Santé

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