One type of alternative complementary medicine which can be very affective is animal assisted therapy or pet therapy.
Animal assisted therapy certainly isn't the type of alternative therapy that will come to most people's minds when they are looking for an alternative option, but the fact is animals are a powerful tool.
Animals cannot talk but yet they can form a power bond with humans I had a cat called Eros for about 20 years and it was definitely a very sad day for me when she died, we essentially grew up together and she had become part of the family. When I was having a tough day at school I always knew that when I came home and sat down she would curl up on my lap while I stroked her and it was definitely very calming.
Animals are used to help people of all ages with mental problems such as depression, stress and anxiety.
The first reported case of animals being used to help the mentally occurred during the late 18th century in England at the York retreat.
The gardens and courtyards had a number of small domesticated animals and the patients were allowed to walk around.
A study published in the Journals of Gerontology concludes that pet therapy reduces loneliness of the people in long term residential homes.
5 residents were included in the study and put into three separate groups. One group was given pet therapy 3 times a week; the second group was given pet therapy once a week and the last group had no pet therapy.
Pet therapy significantly reduced loneliness in the pet therapy groups compared with the non-pet therapy group.
Two puppies were brought into the mental health section by staff of the Joseph Harp Correctional Center, a prison in the U.S.
After four months there were 45 incidents of aggression, 6 of those 45 were physical altercations. Before the puppies arrived there were sixty eight incidents of aggression of which 12 were physical incidents. Obviously a significant decrease.
Hippotherapy is a type of speech, physical and occupational therapy using horses.
Hippotherapy is used to help people with neurological problems or with disabilities such as arthritis, stroke, cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, psychiatric disorders, spinal cord injury, and behavior disorders.
You can get a further idea of how hippotherapy helps people in the videos below.