The bonds we create with animals are powerful. That’s why, all over the world, healthcare professionals are encouraging what is known as ‘animal-assisted therapy’ in care settings.

Animal-assisted therapy is a therapeutic intervention that involves animals, in order to enhance and complement the benefits of traditional therapy.

What are the benefits?

For Mental Health:

  • The simple act of petting animals releases an automatic relaxation response.
  • Humans interacting with animals have found that petting the animal promoted the release of serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin- all hormones that can play a part in elevating moods.
  • Lowers anxiety and helps people relax.
  • Provides comfort.
  • Reduces loneliness.
  • Increases mental stimulation.
  • Can provide an escape or happy distraction.
  • Can act as catalysts in the therapy process.

For Physical Health:

  • Lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health.
  • Reduces the number of medications some people need.
  • Breathing slows in those who are anxious.
  • Releases many hormones such as Phenylethylamine which has the same effect as chocolate.
  • Diminishes overall physical pain.
  • Relax more during exercise.

Recently, our residents enjoyed a visit from some very friendly llamas – who were a real hit! You can see the photographs, below.