THE DOLPHIN ASSISTED THERAPY RESULTS.
have developed a rehabilitation system for patients suffering from neurological
disorders (in adults- chronic fatigue syndrome, in children - conditions
brought about by a negative influence of the environment, enuresis,
logoneuroses, phobias, depression, neurosthenia, infantile autism syndrome and
cerebral palsy) based mainly on the contact of the patients with specially
trained Black Sea bottlenose dolphins.
1 The Black Sea bottlenose dolphin is the natural factor that
exerts a healing effect on patients suffering from neurological disorders,
mainly with a strong psychogenic component of the pathogenesis.
2. The employment of the dolphin for therapeutic purposes is based on its
positive attitude towards humans; desire to establish contact, ease of training
and control, exotic appearance, large size and the ability to conduct treatment
in an aquatic environment.
3. The healing effect of the dolphin is realized most completely in a multilink
system, doctor-coach-dolphin-patient. The process of therapy consists of
several stages, such as psychological preparation of the patient, contacts
between the patient and the dolphin, relaxing procedures after the contact and
supportive psychotherapy after the course of direct dolphin-patient
interactions has ended. The optimal period for the patient's direct involvement
with the patient is 15-20 minutes once a day for a period of 7-10 days.
4. The established mechanisms of dolphin therapy are: emotional stress with an
elevation of psychological and physical activity of the patient and his or her
responsiveness to external influences, including those of psychotherapeutic
nature, retardation of pathological neuropsychological dominances and a
formation of a positive attitude, improvement of psychological status and
psychosomatic self-control, decrease in the strength of vegetative regulatory
5. A system of prognosis of treatment outcomes has been developed, based on the
behavior of the patient towards the dolphin during a test contact and an
evaluation of the readiness of the dolphin to participate in a therapy session,
based on its feeding activity and breathing rhythm.
6. Dolphin therapy for patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome enables
to reach significant improvement in 65.9±2.4% of cases in men and in 81.5±3.8%
of cases in women. With thalasso therapy without a dolphin, improvement levels
are at 30.1±2.9% for males and 60.5±2.7% for females, which is significantly
(P<0.05) lower than with dolphin therapy.
7 Children 5-10 years of age with neurological disorders associated with
negative environmental influences showed a decrease of minimal brain
dysfunction in 62.9 to 87.2% of cases, depending on the patient's age. In
children between 7 and 10 years of age, the therapeutic effect was also
manifested in decrease of headaches. The use of thalasso therapy resulted in
significantly lower (P<0.01) improvement rates of 42.7 to 57.6%.
8. Dolphin therapy of children between 5 and 12 years of age suffering from
enuresis leads to a significant decrease of involuntary urination episodes. It
is especially effective in the 5-6 year age group where improvement levels
reach 90.5±1.3%, in comparison with 30.1±2.3% using thalasso therapy alone
9. The dolphin therapy course in children between 5 and ten years of age
suffering from logo neurosis, supplemented by special "dolphin breathing"
exercises resulted in speech improvement in 75.9±4.6% of cases (P<0.001)
directly after the conclusion of the therapy and in 90.1±3.1% (P<0.001) when
long-term effects are taken into account. Thalasso therapy without the dolphin
resulted in no significant improvement.
10. In children suffering from phobias, 88.2±4.5% (P<0.001) of patients
showed significant improvement, with persistent remission observed in 67.2±1.5%
(P<0.001). The use of thalassotherapy alone did not result in significant
levels of improvement.
11. The fraction of children between 5 and 15 years of age with considerable
decrease of clinical signs of depression after dolphin therapy varies from
52.3±1.5% and 61.7±2.3%, depending on the age group. Thalasso therapy alone
resulted in improvement levels of 10±1.4% to 23.1±2.3% of cases, which is
significantly lower (P<0.05).
12. Dolphin therapy of children suffering from neurasthenia, leads to marked
improvement in their condition in 78.4±2.4% of cases (P<0.001). Thalasso
therapy alone does not have a statistically significant effect.
13. Dolphin therapy exerts a considerable healing effect on children between 5
and 10 years of age afflicted with infantile autism syndrome. Clinical
improvement with respect to day symptoms (autism, auto stimulation,
conservative behavior) was observed in different age subgroups in 64.8-82.6% of
cases. With respect to night symptoms (sleep disorders, enuresis, ritual
behavior, aggressiveness) the improvement was observed in 74.3-88.2% of cases.
Thalasso therapy without involvement of dolphins gave no significant
14. Dolphin therapy had effected on the main clinic manifestations of the
children suffering from cerebral palsy but significantly improved patients'
psychological status and social adaptation.