The Healing Properties of Nature and Animals

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Bains, Ravmeet
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The following piece is intended to enlighten readers on alternative healing modalities as a substitute for traditional therapeutic interventions. The study reviews wide-ranging literature on ecotherapy and animal-assisted therapy. The objective is not to compare well-known therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy but to demonstrate the value of learning to incorporate what is already in one's possession (i.e. companion pets and gardening), all that we ought to live in harmony with, as a means to healing (Wilson, 1984). There are many psychological, physiological and social advantages in conducting therapy in nature and or through introducing animals to the therapy environment. Research demonstrates that ecotherapy and animal assisted therapy aids in elevating mood while reducing stress hormones and blood pressure, among other benefits. Existing research provides evidence for the two therapies (Gullone, 2000; Kamioka, Tsutani, Mutoh, Honda, Shiozawa, Okada, Park, Kitayuguchi, Okuizumi, & Handa, 2012). What is more, these two therapies may be conducted alone or together. Either way, they are cost-effective and have been shown to produce immediate outcomes (Custance, Hingley, & Wilcox, 2011). The paper further includes literature illuminating readers of the importance of such therapies as a means of protecting all of life. Our planet is facing issues such as climate change, deforestation, and extinction of animals. If humanity does not take responsibility and do its part in protecting the planet, the planet's healing effects will not be there to assist humanity. Ultimately, the aim is to facilitate further research on these two modalities as there is sufficient amount of work conducted on both therapies noting their psychological, physiological and social advantages; further to stimulate awareness to the importance of working in harmony with all that exists.
ecotherapy , alternative therapy methods , nature therapy , animal-assisted therapy
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