The idea of therapy dogs was originally met with derision and laughter.

The idea of therapy dogs was originally met with derision and laughter.

 The ultimate validation of animal assisted therapy would come from psychologist Alan Beck and psychiatrist Aaron Katcher. They used direct physiological measures to show that when a person interacted with, or even was simply in the presence of, a friendly dog, there were immediate changes in their physiological responses. Breathing became more regular, heart beat slowed, muscles relaxed and there were other physiological changes suggesting a lowering of sympathetic nervous system activity. Since it is the sympathetic nervous system which responds to stress, this indicated that the dog was clearly reducing the stress levels of the people in its presence.

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