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Dogs Can Heal Your Heart

Having a dog as a pet brings great value to our lives, both spiritually in terms of unconditional acceptance and physically when it comes to having an always-willing-and-able exercise partner. A new study shows visits with a dog improved the mental health of heart failure patients in a hospital setting in a measurable way.

Researchers monitored the health of 76 patients (average age 57) with heart failure who received visits from a volunteer, a volunteer and a dog or no visits at all.

As you probably guessed, visits from a volunteer and a dog netted the highest scores. For example, average epinephrine levels (a hormone your body makes when it's stressed) dropped 17 percent, anxiety scores fell 24 percent and heart pressures declined 10 percent.

If you don't have a pet and want to relieve your stress naturally, I urge you to consider learning an energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique, a form of psychological acupressure I use daily in my practice to help patients eliminate the negative emotions that sabotage their health.

MSNBC November 15, 2005

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