Using companion animals to naturally enhance wellness

Posted on: 25 May 2016

Humans have shared living space with companion animals such as dogs, cats and horses for thousands of years. The benefits of animals are huge and are just starting to be fully understood by medical professionals. Here are some ways that animals can naturally enhance your wellness.

Reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect

Spending time with animals has a relaxing effect for many people. It provides them with a sense of connection and purpose, as well as unconditional affection. People with severe anxiety can often benefit from an emotional support animal, which accompanies them everywhere in a way similar to seeing-eye dogs. Their consistent presence is a soothing influence and can help their owner to adjust to new or stressful situations.  

Reduce blood pressure

Another effect that medical professionals are noting is that pet owners have reduced blood pressure. This is due to both the emotional and calming effects of petting and talking to animals, as well as the lifestyle benefits that animals can trigger such as regular walks to exercise a dog.  

Improve mood and social connections

Animals can be a way to bring people together, as anyone who has ever walked a cute dog can attest! Having more social connections can help people to have less stress in their lives. It is also related to better health and can help people to live longer.

Some people with autism and similar disorders also find it easier to communicate and connect with animals, as they don't need to read and interpret the signals from the human face. 

Stimulate immune system in children

Infants who grow up in a home with pet are less likely to have allergies and asthma. This is thought to be due to the immune system getting a healthy level of stimuli from pet hair, dirt and dander which makes the immune system less likely to overreact to other stimuli and create allergies. The exact mechanisms of this effect are not yet understood and research is ongoing, but in the meantime it's another great benefit of having pets. The effect is greatest in the first year of their life, so don't give away your pets when a baby is on the way. 

If you are looking for a natural way to improve your health and well-being in many facets of your life, why not try introducing a pet into your household. They can help to improve heart health, immunity and mood.