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Can Horses Help Treat Anxiety?

Equine therapy, or therapy that incorporates the care and companionship of horses, is becoming increasingly popular to treat mental health issues and addiction.  While it has long been understood that spending time with animals and pets can have a positive effect on our mood, new research suggests that horses may have a sixth sense that can identify anxiety, stress, and fear in humans, thus helping individuals to identify these emotions in themselves.  Some people may be skeptical of the effectiveness of equine therapy at first, but given the chance, horses may be able to help you work through underlying mental health issues that are holding you back from health and recovery. One study conducted in Sweden confirmed that horses not only sense the anxiety of their riders, but also experience an increased heartrate at the same time as their human companions.  This may be why it is said that horses can sense fear when a new human is attempting to handle them. Because of this amazing ability, horses can help us to understand what is going on beneath the surface in our own minds.  We may appear outwardly calm, but if we are struggling internally with anxiety and unaddressed trauma, a horse will respond by resisting interaction and connection with us.  When combined with other forms of counseling and recovery techniques, equine therapy can allow us to gage our progress as we begin to heal from our past and calm our minds.  Once we achieve a sense of wellbeing, horses will respond accordingly, allowing us to engage with them by caring for them and riding them. Horses are beautiful and sensitive creatures, and their trust and companionship are privileges we must earn by first practicing self-care.  If you are experiencing addiction and the severe anxiety that often accompanies the disease, equine therapy may be a profoundly beneficial experience for you to incorporate in your recovery.

At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.