The Science Behind Animal-Assisted Therapy
- Dawn A. Marcus
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Animal-assisted therapy is a complementary medicine intervention, typically utilizing dogs trained to be obedient, calm, and comforting. Several studies have reported significant pain relief after participating in therapy dog visits. Objective reports of reduced pain and pain-related symptoms are supported by studies measuring decreased catecholamines and increased endorphins in humans receiving friendly dog visits. Mirror neuron activity and disease-perception through olfactory ability in dogs may also play important roles in helping dogs connect with humans during therapeutic encounters. This review will explore a variety of possible theories that may explain the therapeutic benefits that occur during therapy dog visits.
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- The Science Behind Animal-Assisted Therapy
Current Pain and Headache Reports
- Online Date
- February 2013
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Current Science Inc.
- Additional Links
- Electronic nose
- Mirror neurons
- Therapy dog
- Industry Sectors
- Dawn A. Marcus (1) (2)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
- 2. Pain Medicine, Suite 400, Centre Commons Building, 5750 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15206, USA