Dr. Angelica Kokkalis, O.M.D L.Ac.

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Paws for Healing: How Therapy Dogs Enhance Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments

Did you know we have two dogs (JJ and Barnie) that can sit with you during your treatment?

Therapy dogs can play a valuable role in supporting clinical treatments, including those offered by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), by providing emotional and psychological benefits to patients. Here’s how therapy dogs can complement TCM and other clinical treatments:

Stress Reduction: The presence of a therapy dog can significantly reduce stress and anxiety in patients. This is particularly beneficial in a clinical setting, as it can create a more relaxed and comfortable environment for treatments like acupuncture or TENS sessions.

Enhancing Patient Comfort: Some TCM treatments, such as acupuncture, might be intimidating or uncomfortable for certain patients. A therapy dog’s presence can provide a sense of comfort and distraction, making patients more receptive to these treatments.

Improving Treatment Outcomes: Studies have shown that interaction with therapy dogs can lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of medications some patients need, decrease pain levels, and increase endorphin (a pain-relieving hormone) levels. These physiological changes can potentially enhance the effectiveness of TCM treatments.

Emotional Support: Therapy dogs offer unconditional love and support, which can be particularly beneficial for patients dealing with emotional aspects of chronic illnesses or addiction. This emotional support can improve overall patient morale and motivation.

Encouraging Social Interaction: In a clinical setting, therapy dogs can act as social catalysts, encouraging interaction between patients and healthcare providers. This can foster a more positive and communicative environment, which is important for holistic treatments like TCM that often involve a significant patient-practitioner interaction component.

Aiding in Recovery and Rehabilitation: For patients undergoing long-term treatments or rehabilitation, therapy dogs can provide a sense of consistency and companionship, aiding in emotional and psychological recovery.

Non-Invasive Comfort: Unlike some medical treatments, interaction with a therapy dog is completely non-invasive and has no side effects. It’s a natural form of therapy that can easily accompany other treatments.Improving Compliance with Treatment Regimens: The presence of therapy dogs in treatment settings can improve patients’ compliance with their treatment regimens. Patients may look forward to their treatments more if they know they will have an opportunity to interact with a therapy dog.