Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania report that quietly watching fish swimming in an aquarium eases stress, and may offer a means of treating high blood pressure.
Researchers say that the fish are the key . People who watch fish tanks with bubbles, pebbles and plants – but no fish – don’t benefit nearly as much.
“There is a sharp difference,” says ecologist Alan Beck, director of the university’s Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society. “Blood pressure drops with fishless fish tanks, but it doesn’t drop as much and it creeps back up faster. With fish in the tanks, you truly get relaxation.”
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Do you have a stressful life, high blood pressure, insomnia? Keeping an aquarium may be good therapy for you. Studies going back as far as the late 80’s have shown that gazing at aquarium fish reduces stress and subsequently lowers blood pressure.
Multitude of Benefits-Seniors who were provided with an aquarium filled with fish had significant blood pressure reduction. Watching fish has been shown to calm children who suffer from hyperactivity disorder. Dental patients who were subjected to hypnosis vs. an aquarium experienced the same or greater benefit from the aquarium. Other studies have shown that dental patients required less pain medication after having watched fish in the office. It’s little wonder that physician offices, dental clinics, and even waiting rooms for counselors have traditionally kept an aquarium in the waiting room.
Aquarium Effect on Alzheimer’s-Studies have shown that seniors who have Alzheimer’s experience a variety of health benefits from watching an aquarium. Alzheimer patients ate more, and required fewer supplements after an aquarium was placed in the dining room. They also exhibited less physically aggressive behaviors.