What’s in a purr? It may seem that your cat is soothing himself as he purrs contently in your lap. Scientific American magazine tells us otherwise.
We’re aware that we feel better after spending time with our feline friend. If we pay attention, we may also notice that sore muscle or pulled ligament from yesterday’s walk or sports activity has loosened up. Our stress is reduced after even a brief encounter with our cat, and if we took our blood pressure, that too would be lower.
How does he do it? A cat’s purr vibrates at a frequency of 25-150 hertz. Broken bones and bone injuries can be healed or improved at 20 to 50 hertz. Between 20-140 hertz, his deep purring can heal joint mobility, bursitis, tendinitis, sprains, strains and other soft-tissue injuries.
Science tells us household pets boost a baby’s immune systems during their first six months and they are less likely to have ear infections, colds or develop allergies and asthma. Whether it’s your guinea pig, rabbit, cat, dog or another household friend, they all contribute to a healthier family.
A dog kiss is much more than a display of affection. His saliva carries a “nerve growth factor” that can heal a wound twice as fast as an untreated wound. While his licking helps heal the wound, his saliva loosens any debris on the surface of the cut. Nursing dogs lick their newborn puppies to help fight off pathogens and infections. Though a well-intended dog kiss may feel good to us, it can also cause infection and pass on bacteria with serious consequences.
The American Journal of Cardiology reports men with dogs were more likely to survive a heart attack. Having an animal in your home also lowered blood pressure in just six months.
Animal communicators and healers often share experiences of the incredible healing powers of animals. Scientists are working to provide proof of these well-known abilities between animals and humans. They have identified dogs, cats, and other household pets as some of the top healers who treat our illnesses and help with rehabilitation.
Animals reach us at another level and are turning up in more schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and jails. Whether it’s a dog, cat, guinea pig, bird or horse, their unconditional love, and acceptance provide comfort and support to all and especially those with chronic conditions. People who live with animals are happier, communicate better, and experience overall well-being.
Vi, a yellow Labrador retriever, helps children undergoing experimental therapies at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. She can be checked out for a walk and greets families before and after treatments. This retired guide dog is touching lives and fulfilling her life purpose.
Children with autism who bond with an animal are more likely to interact with people and are more assertive according to the University of Missouri. Pets are conversation starters and ice breakers.
Service dogs are both highly and individually trained to respond to people with post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, grief, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Working with animals therapeutically increases a person’s oxytocin and level of happiness which is important long-term.
More retirement communities and assisted living facilities are making it easier for residents to keep and care for their animal companions by offering pet-friendly facilities. Students from the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing and College of Veterinary Medicine visit Tiger Place, an independent living community, regularly to walk dogs, clean litter boxes, and make preventative care visits to these cherished companions. The support these dogs provide is making a huge difference.
Not only do we get healthier walking our dog, but our awareness increases so that we exercise more each week according to Rebecca Johnson, author of Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound. Her research focused on how animals benefit from human interaction. She found dogs were significantly more likely to be adopted who were part of a dog-walking group. As volunteers provided additional exercise and socialization, adoption rates went up.
Dogs in shelters are benefitting from basic obedience training provided by military veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s clearly an equal exchange with veterans acclimating back into society more quickly.
How can we best apply their generous healing? It begins with a conversation, talk to your animal companion. Who knows and understands us better than they do? Getting issues and problems out of our body is a form of healing in itself, and we feel comforted. Petting or stroking our cat or dog reduces stress and kick starts our immune system. A study in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders proves stress, anxiety and blood pressure are reduced just by touching an animal.
Do you want to feel more loving and trust your life? Play with your animal companion and boost your oxytocin, the “cuddle or love” hormone. Animals increase our motivation. They make us laugh and call our attention to and enjoyment of the simple things.
Establish a deep emotional bond with your animal companions and treat them as family members. You will feel supported, gain health benefits and be the beneficiary of bucketsful of love. So, go ahead, play with them, throw them a birthday party, buy them presents and enjoy the many ways animals improve your life. Thank your animal healers for doing what they are best at: loving you.