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A recent study suggests that pet therapy, particularly interacting with dogs, may be beneficial for mental health. Researchers in South Korea discovered that playing with dogs can influence brain waves, leading to increased relaxation and concentration, as well as decreased levels of stress and depression. This finding raises the possibility of doctors prescribing pets as a means to improve mental well-being.

Dog companionship offers therapeutic effects

The study examined the effects of interactions between participants and dogs on brain waves, finding numerous benefits. Researchers concluded that “animal-assisted interventions” (AAI) offer significant potential advantages for humans.

According to the study conducted by Konkuk University in Seoul there are specific brainwave patterns associated with various human-dog interactions. This research provides scientific evidence supporting the therapeutic benefits of canine companionship, confirming long-held beliefs.

Researchers emphasize the longstanding relationship between humans and dogs, highlighting their roles as companions and workers throughout history. It mentions previous studies on the benefits of interacting with dogs, including physical and emotional advantages. However, this study takes a novel approach by investigating how various activities with dogs impact brain activity, measured through electroencephalograms (EEGs).

The study with 30 healthy adults explored interactions with dogs through various activities like playing, walking, hugging, feeding, grooming, massaging, photographing, and meeting. EEGs monitored brainwave patterns, specifically alpha and beta power spectra, which represent relaxation and concentration levels.

Findings showed that activities like playing and walking increased relaxation, reflected in higher alpha wave activity, while focused interactions like massaging and grooming led to increased concentration without stress, indicated by heightened beta wave activity.

Interacting with dogs reduces stress and raises mood

Additionally the study examined how individuals’ emotions were affected by interacting with dogs, using pre- and post-activity questionnaires. It consistently found that engaging with dogs led to reduced stress levels and improved mood, underscoring the emotional advantages of spending time with these animals.

The research highlights how interactions with dogs affect mental well-being positively. Playing with dogs relaxes and sharpens the mind, improving relaxation and concentration. This suggests dogs could be integral to stress relief and enhancing mental focus in therapy.