Zootherapy to Combat Stress (Part II)

Have you ever heard of “purr therapy”? If you’re the happy owner of a cat, chances are you know all about it even if you’ve never heard of it.

By Catherine Caron

The French veterinarian Yves Gauchet, inventor of the term purr therapy (ronronthérapie in French), says purring is like a medication without side effects: “It’s through the eardrum, as well as the Pacinian corpuscles (pressure and vibration receptors in the skin), that we perceive purring, which emits low frequencies between 20 and 50 hertz. These frequencies transmit positive thoughts and well-being to the brain; this soft sound triggers the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone, involved in the quality of our sleep and of our mood.”

The vibrations emitted by a cat’s purr are the same as those used in kinesiotherapy, where they’re produced to accelerate bone healing. And when a film’s music touches you, upsets you, calms you, provokes an emotional reaction, that’s also an example of vibrations affecting you.

In short, purring is “a powerful stress fighter, an arterial tension regulator, an immunity system booster and a psychomotor support,” argues journalist Veronique Aïache, author of the book La ronronthérapie (Purr Therapy).

In Tokyo, where cat cafés abound, some companies (like Ferray Corporation, an IT company) let their employees take their cat to work, to help lower office stress and encourage creativity.

When will Quebec get its own “Cat Workplace Policy”?

First seen in: Reflet de Société, Vol. 27, no. 1, printemps (spring) 2019, page 14

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