In a pioneering procedure developed using the facilities at Elche’s Rio Safari, forty women affected by breast cancer have been benefitting from therapy with sea lions.
The beneficiaries are all members of the Elche Association of Women Affected by Breast Cancer (Amacmec) and so far they have attended the centre’s therapeutic baths on seven occasions, with each of the visits supervised by therapists and trainers.
A spokesperson for the project said that the main objective is to reduce the negative psychological symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, from which those affected by the disease inevitably suffer.
It also aims to improve other lifestyle aspects such as self-esteem and image as well as quality of life and emotional well-being.
Participants were divided into small groups of five to six women per session. On many occasions they were accompanied by their children or their partners who were also able to benefit from the treatment.
Each session was divided into three phases: socialization, relaxation and interaction with the sea lions, allowing the participants to play and carry out relaxation exercises with the mammals, either individually or as a group.
The therapies are adjusted to meet the needs of the individual patients. To enable this to happen the therapist receives information on the characteristics of each participant which allows them to focus the therapy on their individual needs
According to a Rio Safari occupational therapist with the Maria Galvañ Foundation, the sea lion is a "docile" animal that responds very well to interaction with humans. "It is a very motivating and innovative therapeutic tool that gets extremely beneficial results" all of which help these women to "improve their emotional well-being while they are having fun and by also raising lots of smiles."
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/47306/
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