Delphinotherapy: advantages and controversies

Delphinotherapy: advantages and controversies

Animal therapies have proved extremely useful for all types of diseases or conditions. Dolphin therapy is one of them. Sheis used to treat people with physical or mental disabilities.The dolphin therapy is carried out in specialized centers or authorized water parks, where doctors and psychologists work with dolphins and patients.

Advocates of this practice recommend thistherapy because of hiscalming effect or the progression of mental activity in people with diseases.

What is dolphinotherapy?

Dolphin therapy involves a patient, a dolphin (who is usually of the "bottle nose" type) and a team usually trained by psychologists and / or doctors. It is therefore aaquatic therapy highlighting sensory activity.

It is usually performed with children with certain conditions, such as autism or psychomotor disorders.This type of therapy is also given to adults suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress.

This therapy has different forms, durations and places of execution.There are, for example, water parks that offer this type of therapy through individual and personalized interaction programs (according to the needs of the children). Other centers are specialized in different therapies, including dolphinotherapy. The program is even developed virtually in some centers thanks to the recent access to VR (virtual reality).

The dolphinotherapy has its origin in some English studies conducted with autistic childrenhaving progressed in their condition after swimming with dolphins. The American doctor John C. Lilly later performed experiments with dolphins and children presentingpsychic dysfunction. An encephalogram performeda posteriori allowed Dr. Lilly to determine that their language, mood, and movements had benefited from the experience.

Scientist David Cole attributed to the soundDolphins ultrasonic frequencies stimulating the central nervous system, in the cavitational hypothesis. There are other experiments linking this cetacean communication system to the human neural network.

What are the benefits of dolphin therapy?

Dolphin therapy has many advantages, according to his supporters. Among them, the promotion ofsecretion of endorphins by the action of ultrasonic waves. This greatly affects the mood of the patient. This action also helps to improve attention deficit disorders or anxiety. In terms of physical benefits, the confluence of the aquatic environment and the presence of the animal could help tomitigate the pain caused by physical injury or the sequelae of addiction to various drugs.

The benefits relate mainly tomental, emotional and physical well-being. It is shown that contact with animals helps to treat all types of intellectual, physical or social dysfunctions. Dogs are frequently used in centers where such programs are implemented. It is also shown that the affection of a pet benefits the youngest. They improve their empathy, are a source of unconditional love, in addition to giving them a sense of responsibility.

Controversy around dolphin therapy

This type of therapy is not free from controversy and disagreements between two groups, mainly:

  • The animal rights community: for thedefenders of animalsany form of imprisonment of wild animals is reprehensible. In the case of dolphins, a non-domestic species, they reject their capture and containment in water parks and zoos. They claim the benefits lavished on humans do not matter if they are at the expense of dolphins.
  • The differences between thescientific community : all scientists agree on the influence of ultrasonic waves on the human neural network because there are no specific studies on this hypothesis. It is also important to note that there is no clear evidence, for example, of a continuous improvement of autistic symptoms over time.

Be that as it may, we should not underestimate the fact that contact with animals is, in a way, beneficialspiritually and emotionally. The results obtained to date have been very positive, although it is difficult to accurately measure the impact of this contact.

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