Aquarium therapy is the use of an aquarium to provide potential health benefits.
Contemplation of fish in an aquarium seem to have a significant effect in reducing levels of stress and
anxiety. The effects of the presence of an aquarium on patients awaiting electroconvulsive therapy were
examined in 2004 study by Purdue. While statistically significant differences in blood pressure and heart
rate between the test and control were not found, the patients demonstrated a 12% reduction in self
reported pre-treatment anxiety. In a 1985 study of dental patients, both contemplation of an aquarium
and hypnosis, used together or alone, produced a significant increase in relaxation in comparison to a
control group and a group of patients who contemplated a poster. This study also found that hypnosis did
not augment the effects of exposure to an aquarium. Degrees of relaxation were determined by both
subjective and objective criteria, and included blood pressure and heart rate. Additional studies confirm
that watching fish in an aquarium can be effective in reducing anxiety in patients awaiting dental surgery. Observation of aquaria has also been shown to reduce muscle tension and pulse rate in elderly subjects
in comparison to control groups who watched a placebo video tape or a video tape of an aquarium.
Although aquarium owners often report problems with maintaining tank cleanliness and controlling
temperature and water balance, they also claim that watching fish has a calming effect and creates a
feeling of serenity.
Other Health Benefits
A Purdue study in 2009 examined the effect of aquariums on the nutritional intake of patients diagnosed
with Alzheimer’s disease. The study followed 60 patients in three health care facilities. In two facilities
patients were exposed to aquaria, and the patients in the third facility were used as a control group and
exposed to paintings of seascapes. Patients exposed to the aquaria averaged an increase of 17.2 percent in
the amount of food they consumed. Weight also increased significantly, and the patients required fewer
nutritional supplements. In addition to the nutritional benefits, there was also a noticeable decrease in
physically aggressive behaviors among the patients.
The Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut has a program designed to help children with learning and
developmental challenges enhance their social skills. The program uses “touch and learn” sessions with
aquatic invertebrates to facilitate relaxation and development of social skills.
In feng shui, moving water is considered beneficial in balancing chi, and a well maintained aquarium in
the right location increases wealth and luck.[unreliable source?] 
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