Aquarium Therapy

Post 3 of 9
Aquarium Therapy


Aquarium therapy

Aquarium therapy is the use of an aquarium to provide potential health benefits.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3] Additional studies confirm

that watching fish in an aquarium can be effective in reducing anxiety in patients awaiting dental surgery.

[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8][9]

Feng Shui

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?] [10][11]


1. ^ Blizin, Jerry (1964-05-24). “Floridian Planning National Aquarium”. St. Petersburg Times.

Retrieved 2010-03-17.[dead link]

2. ^ Barker, Sandra B., Rasmussen, Keith G., and Best, Al. M. (2004-07-05). “Effect of aquariums on

electroconvulsive therapy patients”. Anthrozoös (USA: Purdue Univ Press.) 16 (3): 229–240.

doi:10.2752/089279303786992071. ISSN 0892-7936.

3. ^ Katcher, Aaron, Segal, Herman and Beck, Alan (1985-09-01). “Comparison of contemplation and

hypnosis for the reduction of anxiety and discomfort during dental surgery”. American Journal of

Clinical Hypnosis (USA: American Society of Clinical Hypnosis) 27 (1): 14–21.

doi:10.1080/00029157.1984.10402583. ISSN 0002-9157. PMID 6391137.

4. ^ J Pretty, PF Barlett. “Nature and Health in the Urban Environment”. Urban Place

5. ^ DeSchriver, Mary M., and Riddick, Carol C. (1992-10-01). “Effects of watching aquariums on

elders’ stress”. Anthrozoös (USA: Purdue Univ Press) 4 (1): 44–48.

doi:10.2752/089279391787057396. ISSN 0892-7936.

6. ^ Kidd, Aline H.and Kidd, Robert M. (1999-09-01). “Benefits, problems, and characteristics of home

aquarium owners”. Psychological Reports (USA: Psychological Reports) 84 (3): 998–1004.

doi:10.2466/PR0.84.3.998-1004. ISSN 0033-2941.

7. ^ Gaidos, Susan (August 2009). “Study: Aquariums may pacify Alzheimer’s patients”. Perdue News

Service. Retrieved 2010-03-17.

8. ^ Robitaille, Suzanne (March 5, 2010). “Fish Therapy for Autistic Youth at Mystic Aquarium”.

Connecticut News. Retrieved 2010-03-18.

9. ^ “Mystic Aquarium Hosts Synergy Center Programs for Students with Disabilities and Social

Challenges”. Retrieved 2010-03-18.

10. ^ “Feng Shui Tip 83”. Retrieved 2010-03-18.

11. ^ “Free Feng Shui Tips”. Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-18.



Aquarium therapy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia