Swimming With Dolphins

Depressed? Swim with dolphins

swimming holiday with dolphins
Taking a dip with dolphins can be a tremendous therapy for people with depression according to a study published on Saturday in the weekly British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Nature lovers – biophiles to give them their scientific name – have long argued that interaction with animals can soothe a troubled mind but this claim has always been anecdotal lacking the scientific data to back it up.

Seeking to find out more psychiatrists Christian Antonioli and Michael Reveley at Britain’s University of Leicester recruited 30 people in the United States and Honduras who had been diagnosed with mild or moderate depression.

The severity of their symptoms was calculated according to established yardsticks for mental health the Hamilton and Beck scales which are based on interviews and questionnaires with the patient.

No antidepressants

The volunteers were required to stop taking any antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy for four weeks.

Half of the group was then randomly selected to play snorkel and take care of dolphins each day at an institute for marine sciences in Honduras.

The other half was assigned to a programme of outdoor activities also at the institute that included swimming and snorkelling at a coral reef but without the dolphins.

Two weeks later both groups had improved but especially so among patients who had been swimming with the dolphins.

Measurable symptoms of depression in the dolphin group had fallen by half and by two-thirds according to the two scales – twice as much as in the non-dolphin group.

In addition a self-rating measurement of anxiety symptoms the Zung scale found a fall of more than 20% among the dolphin group compared with a decline of 11% among the non-dolphin groups.

“To the best of our knowledge this is the first randomised single blind controlled trial of animal-facilitated therapy with dolphins ” say Antonioli and Reveley.

“The effects exerted by the animals were significantly greater than those of just the natural setting. The echolocation system the aesthetic value and the emotions raised by the interaction with dolphins may explain the mammals’ healing properties.”

“Swimming with wild dolphins is illegal under the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, which states that it is unlawful for any person, vessel, or other conveyance to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. Even though it’s illegal to swim with dolphins, many people do it anyway.”

It is hard to argue that swimming with dolphins doesn’t have an affect on things but reading the above statement it seems to me that swimming with dolphins is only illegal if the dolphins are being harassed.  There are daily examples of people swimming with the beautiful creatures where they follow the boat and are only too happy to interact with people wanting to swim alongside them.  With the interest that the subject has, it seems to me that the dolphins have a better chance with our interaction than without it.

Swim with the Dolphins

Wild and Free Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins – what you need to know

Polperro Dolphin Swims: Swimming

Swimming with dolphins is an amazing experience that everyone should try to do at some point in there lives. There are some special areas where you can find these amazing marine mammals. A lot of those places are located in the Caribbean or at least close to the Equator, take a look at the most popular spots for swimming with dolphins around the world. Some of them might surprise you!  Read more