Decoding Dolphin Therapy – A Beautiful Story!
We all know that dolphins are known as the most entertaining, charismatic and charming animals living peacefully in the ocean. To add to their charm and mystique, dolphins have also gained a reputation for their wonderful healing powers in the past couple of years. Read on to know whether dolphin therapy really has healing properties and how does it work?
Behind the Scene Events!
Centers located around the world actually offer different types of dolphin-assisted therapy to individuals who are afflicted with physical and mental ailments. Most importantly, this form of therapy is an expensive chance to swim with these peaceful creatures. Concerned parents of children afflicted with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, severe autism and various other disabilities spend a fortune on such type of treatments. They hope that dolphins can actually reach their children in a way that medications, physical therapists or psychiatrist never could.
One popular facility for such dolphin-based treatment is Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo, Fla. The facility has 6 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins placed in a penned-in canal which is connected to the ocean. As per the facility’s website, the personalities of these beautiful animals run the gamut from “Gucci girl” to “tomboy.” The facility hosts a staff which includes 3 special education teachers and a social worker, along with other specialists and speech therapists that pay a visit from time to time.
A 5-day therapy program costs nearly $2,200 which includes twenty minutes of fun filled time with dolphins every day. The rest of the time is spent in therapy sessions or classrooms, based on the wishes of the concerned parents or needs of the kid. The peaceful mammals even work with a few adults, including war veterans who might have lost their limbs.
There are no dolphin-based therapies available in California. One can have fun time swimming with them at SeaWorld in San Diego, although it is not considered as a form of therapy! Such therapy programs are, however, found in Mexico, such as the ‘Living From the Heart Dolphin Experience’ in Cozumel. This therapy involves five 40-minute therapy sessions. This includes a single dolphin and is continued for 3 days. The therapy costs around $575.
The Claims of Dolphin Therapy
World Wide Web is rife with scientific claims that these mammals can successfully stimulate the disabled children’s brains, heal muscle injuries and zap tumors using their natural ultrasound! Even if these mechanisms are not clear completely, there are also several reports that these mammals have actually restored faulty vision and relieved chest pain.
According to a dolphin therapy center website located in Ukraine, dolphins can successfully treat conditions like autism, depression, headaches and chronic fatigue syndrome, among various other conditions. However, programs and therapies closer to the Western part are much more reserved. The Island Dolphin Care website does not proclaim that the therapy cures any illness, but the mammals are known to provide “unconditional love and support” to children with terminal illnesses or disabilities.
According to Deena Hoagland, an executive director and licensed social worker of Island Dolphin Care, these calm mammals don’t possess any magical powers! She says that it is highly irresponsible to give any kind of false hope to people regarding the outcome of the therapy. She thinks and believes that animals bring self-esteem, confidence and joy to children as well as adults. She also adds that the dolphin therapy session is just a part of the entire program as they also use traditional treatments in a novel, exciting way.
As per the Living From the Heart Dolphin Experience website, around 95% of children with autism who receive such dolphin-based therapy sessions enjoy benefits which last for two years. According to the program’s executive director, Macy Jozsef, they are offering this form of therapy for past 20 years. She says that “nobody clearly knows why these wonderful mammals have the impact that they do.” She tends to think that the dolphins actually help synchronize the right side and left side of human brains, as there is nothing else which can achieve this synchronization.
Decoding Dolphin Therapy – The Bottom Line!
If you are a concerned parent who thinks that your bundle of joy will enjoy splashing around in the pool with a enormous, smart and calm aquatic mammal, then a dolphin experience sounds like a right investment plan! However, if you are thinking about a treatment method with scientifically proven results, then think twice. You must look past this therapy.
Even Deena Hoagland, the executive director of Island Dolphin Care, agrees that there is lack of real research to support this form of therapy. However, she perceives this hindrance in a positive light: “If there is no scientific base behind it, one can’t simply claim that this therapy does not work.”
According to Lori Marino, a behavioral biology and neuroscience researcher from Emory University in Atlanta, studies regarding dolphin therapy are very few in number and they don’t really add up to much. In a small study conducted by Japanese researchers in 2001, it was revealed that dolphin therapy can successfully treat the skin condition eczema. But, Marino says that the study findings stretched credulity. According to her, the appeal of this therapy lies on mystical beliefs rather than any real outcome. These mammals are considered as the “ultimate New Age animals.”
Whether dolphin therapy offers any treatments benefits or not, it needs more in-depth research work! But one thing is guaranteed – these beautiful, peaceful mammals can really infuse warmth and happiness in children and adults with terminal illnesses or disabilities. The mystical mammals instill a hope in their dying or berated souls and make them see how wonderful the world is!