Dolphin assisted therapy (DAT) is a highly controversial topic in the medical world. Is it medicine or simply recreation? Whatever you might believe, you cannot deny the fact that dolphins are loving and nurturing mammals with the ability to show compassion. Along with that ability for compassion, some may claim that there is actual science, which proves that interactions with dolphins have helped to treat many patients. Most of the patients in dolphin assisted therapy are children with autism, Down's syndrome, depression, and other neurological and movement disorders. (http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9803/28/dolphin.therapy/index.html)
The theory behind dolphin assisted therapy is based on two philosophies. One of these is that the unconditional love and support a dolphin has to offer can benefit children and mentally ill patients in many ways. As with most animals, a dolphin seems to have human-like emotions, so a deep trusting bond can develop between patient and mammal. Some proponents of dolphin assisted therapy claim that the compassion a dolphin displays increases the patient's self-confidence, because the patient is never judged. Increased self-confidence can lead to better social skills and academic improvement. (http://www.ulst.ac.uk/papa/dolphin.html)
The second part of the theory involves a more scientific approach. It involves echolocation (echolocation: a high-pitched sound sent out by the dolphin that bounces off an object and returns to the whale. The dolphin interprets the returning echo to determine the object's shape, direction, distance, and texture). (http://www.zoomdinasaurs.com/subjects/whales/glossary/Echolocation.shtml ) Some say that the dolphins' use of sonar and echolocation produce changes in the body tissue and cell structure of patients who associate with them. Others believe that sound waves emitted by the dolphins in communication and echolocation stimulate healing. (http://www.idw.org/healing.html) A diminishing of...
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