The concept of biofields – fields of energy that extend beyond the body – forms the major basis of many types of traditional, holistic, and alternative medicine. Now, scientific support for this idea may have come in the form of an experiment performed on owners and their dogs.
The study was conducted by the Hearts Aligned initiative, which is funded by pet-food manufacturer Pedigree. The researchers found that after being reunited following a separation, dogs and their owners seemed to synchronize heartbeats.
The findings imply that being around dogs lowers pet owners’ stress levels.
“There is decades of research showing how dogs can help their owners stay both physically and emotionally healthy,” said researcher Mia Cobb of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. “Hearts Aligned aims to showcase the science behind the special bond we have with our dogs and to celebrate that.”
Heartbeats drop at the same rate
The study was performed on three dogs and their owners. All six participants were fitted with heart monitors, and the dogs and owners were then separated. When this occurred, both dogs and humans showed increases in heart rate consistent with anxiety. When the dogs and humans were reunited, their heart rates fell again.
The surprising finding, however, was that the rates of change in the dogs’ heart rates mirrored those of their owners. This is particularly significant because dog and human hearts beat at different speeds.
Thus, when an owner’s heart rate dropped by about 20 beats per minute, the heart rate of the owner’s dog dropped by about 40 beats per minute – a proportional change.
The scale of the drop in heart rate could be enough to provide significant health benefits, said researcher and sports scientist Dr. Craig Duncan.
“Stress is a major killer in today’s society and, as we get busier and busier, it is something that is really important for us to try to help with,” Duncan said. “The Hearts Aligned project aims to show how pet ownership can help us positively deal with the stressors of everyday life.”
Human-dog connection is good for the health
Studies have previously shown that the heartbeats of humans who care deeply for each other can move into sync. This is called “entrainment.” At least one prior study has also demonstrated entrainment between humans and dogs. That study was performed in 2012 by Dr. Rollin McCraty, the director of research at the Institute of HeartMath, on his own son and dog. McCraty found that when his son Josh entered the room and gave loving attention to dog Mabel, Josh’s heart rate dropped and became more orderly, and Mabel’s soon followed.
Another study, conducted by researchers from the University of Tokyo and published in the journal PLOS ONE, confirmed prior findings that dogs yawn in response to human yawns. New findings included that dogs only yawn in response to real human yawns, not fake ones. Even more surprising, dogs are significantly more likely to yawn following a yawn by their owner than one by a stranger.
While scientists are only beginning to explore the ways the bodies of humans and dogs can synchronize, one form of human-dog connection has been very well studied: People who own dogs tend to have much better health than those who do not.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research has shown that having any kind of pet decreases blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and loneliness, and increases opportunities for socialization, exercise, and outdoor activity.
By: David Gutierrez, Natural News Source
Sources for this article include: