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Scientific Proof That Swimming with Dolphins Is Good Therapy

Published on 11. 16. 2015

Animals have special bonds with people – bonds that contribute to sound emotional health.

In many parts of the country, and at Hawaii Island Recovery (HIR), equine therapy is used for a full range of clients with a roster of needs, both physical, behavioral and emotional needs.

Companion dogs are used to help the blind, of course, but now these service dogs are used to treat the ongoing symptoms of PTSD and other emotional and physical issues. Some dogs “smell” or “intuit” an oncoming seizure and warn human companions to get prone fast.

Interaction between people and animals is therapeutic. Most nursing homes have cats and dogs roaming the halls to lift the spirits of residents.

Swimming with the Dolphins

Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT) has been around as a branch of science since 1978.

The theory behind DAT? First, it works. Dolphins share human emotions. They’re highly-intelligent, intuitive and social.

Current studies suggest that dolphin sonar facilitates the healing process with an increase in T-cells and endorphins. Some well-respected scientists have even suggested that dolphins target damaged areas to relieve pain.

Co-Cures for Addictive Behaviors and Substance Abuse

When equine therapy was introduced to the mainstream medical and rehab communities, it wasn’t thought to be effective. A gimmick, almost.

Today, animal therapy has been studied, delivering quantifiable results. However, dolphin assisted therapy is more difficult to quantify.

The impact may not be felt immediately. However, at Hawaii Island Recovery, dolphin-assisted therapy is popular with our clients. First, it’s fun swimming with these gentle creatures who seem to want to connect with humans. Second, the gentle engagement with dolphins is soothing and comforting.

At Hawaii Island Recovery, animal-client therapies are used in conjunction with other traditional and holistic therapies.

You’re not a believer? Don’t think swimming with dolphins or horses present works? There are a lot of studies that suggest you might want to think about these unorthodox but effective therapies in the treatment of a long list of addictive behaviors.

At Hawaii Island Recovery, dolphin and equine therapies deliver immediate emotional and physical benefits. The benefits are derived from socializing, and a growing trust between dolphins and residents.

The Huffpost Healthy Living section states, “In an ongoing pilot study – “Researching the Effects of Dolphin Assisted Therapy at CDTC on Brain Activity” -- in cooperation with the German Society of Air and Space Medicine and Research, DolphinAid and the Neurological Clinic Vogtareuth, scientists used water-proof EEG equipment to measure how human brain waves change in interactions with dolphins…”

“…One hypothesis suggests that our brain waves sync to be in resonance with the frequencies of those of dolphins when we're exposed to them. Our normal activity in everyday thought is in beta wavelength. Upon exposure to dolphins, our brainwaves have been measured to go into alpha (the relaxation, effortless alertness, peak performances, daydreaming state, producing lower anxiety and better immune system function)”


Hawaii Island Recovery – Animal Assisted Therapy


Animal-assisted therapy has the science to back up its effectiveness, and specifically, dolphin assisted therapy (DAT) has some mysteries that need to be solved. However, with years of consistent, anecdotal evidence, Hawaii Island Recovery utilizes DAT because we’ve observed high success rates and most desired outcomes for years.

To learn more about traditional and non-traditional rehabilitation and recovery from PTSD, substance abuse, and other issues that diminish quality of life for you and your loved ones. drop us a line or give us a call to talk to a trained counselor who can provide answers to all of your questions.

Come to Hawaii Island Recovery and swim with the dolphins. The world never looked so magnificent.

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