Stroking dogs or cats for ten minutes helps reduce stress

Pet owners are aware of the taste it provides approach your dog or cat and give it some pampering. Animals enjoy being next to their favorite person, but humans are happy interacting with them that way. But now, we know that this act, besides being fraternal, is good for our health.

A study by Washington State University (WSU) in the United States has revealed that petting helps relieve stress and provides different physiological benefits. The research, conducted with 249 students, has been published in 'AERA Open', the magazine of the American Educational Research Association.

In statements collected by Infosalus, the WSU professor and director of the study, Patricia Pendry, explains that "only 10 minutes can have a significant impact The students who participated in our study and who interacted with cats and dogs had a significant reduction in cortisol, an important stress hormone. "

Relieve tension

The study is the first that demonstrates a reduction in cortisol levels during an intervention in real life and outside the laboratory environment. The participants were randomly distributed in four groups: one played and petted dogs and cats; another waited for his turn to do the same; the third saw animal slides; and the fourth was on ‘waiting list’.

Everyone waited their turn for 10 minutes without being able to use their mobiles or other hobby, although everyone was explained that they could interact with pets shortly after. After that period of time a sample of saliva was taken from all participants and compared with others that had been taken throughout the day, from the moment of waking up.

The results showed that students who played and petted pets showed a significantly lower amount of cortisol in his saliva Patricia Pendry says that “we already knew that students enjoy interacting with animals, and that it helps them experience more positive emotions. What we wanted to discover was whether this exhibition would help students reduce their stress in a less subjective way. And he did, which is exciting because the reduction of stress hormones can, over time, have significant benefits for physical and mental health".

The reduction of stress hormones can, over time, have significant benefits for physical and mental health

Now, Pendry and his team will expand their work with a four-week study with animals. Meanwhile, several American universities have introduced the program 'Pet Your Stress Away'(a pun to eliminate stress with pets) and students can interact with cats and / or dogs to relieve their tension.