The field of dolphin assisted therapy is a growing one, with an increasing number of dolphin interaction and "healing" places coming online. At the moment, dolphins helping people is considered "alternative medicine".
What is needed is to make the dolphins more available to people, and to collect fair-witness accounts of what happens between us and the dolphins, with medical documentation where possible or practicable. We intend to do this.
Our hypothesis is that dolphins, by use of their sonic and perhaps other electromagnetic outputs can change the physiology and structure of the human body, and may effect improvements in a wide variety of brain traumas. This question is worthy of careful investigation.
We propose to study this matter. We will observe and measure what happens and see if there are observable change and improvement.
There is good reason to suppose that dolphins can indeed aid us in our restoration of a wide variety of medical and psychological conditions, including brain injuries and brain trauma.
This supposition is supported by a growing number of studies. One of the finest works on dolphin assisted therapies is that of Steven Birch, Ph.D., Bioelectronics Group, Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering of Monash University, Australia. To quote the abstract of his thesis on "Dolphin-Human Interaction Effects" (1997):
"Dolphin assisted therapeutic effects include alleviation of pain in spinal patients, improved learning in neurologically impaired children and alleviation of depression." Some of these effects are specifically neurological, for example: "Following dolphin contact, noticible changes in subject EEG activity are observed. These are characterized by a decrease in frequency and an increase in amplitude, with some evidence of hemispheric synchronization. In this study, 85% of subjects displayed these modifications following dolphin contact, these findings correlate with findings by other research groups. A hormonal mechanism has been postulated... which cause[s] analgesia, improved learning and and potentiate[s] psychological self-reward mechanisms."
Dolphin interaction has reportedly improved a wide variety of conditions including cerebral palsy, autism, joint and neck problems and Down's syndrome. These reports, coupled with Dr. Birch's study suggest that brain tramas may be improved through dolphin interaction.
Two other reports are directly relevent to our study of brain trauma:
The first was reported on NBC's "The Other Side". A fellow with a head injury was swimming with the free spinner dolphins off Kauai. The injury had given him tunnel vision. While he was in the water, he felt and heard the dolphins sonaring him, and while in the water, his peripheral vision returned, revealing some 30 dolphins all around him. At minimum, the dolphins might have corrected an ischemic blood flow reduction (this is speculation).
In another case, reported at the Second International Conference on Dolphin Assisted Therapy, concerned a baby with microcephaly, where the skull plates grow in the wrong curve and fail to form sufficient skull volume to contain the brain. As far as I am aware, we have zero effective knowledge on how to correct this condition.
The baby was brought to the dolphins and supported on the back in the water. Two dolphins put their rostrums at each side of the neck, one at the medulla and one at the base of the spine. They ensonified the baby for some 20 minutes at a time, over several days. It is reported that after this, the skull plates were developing normally.
This suggests that the dolphins are capable of profoundly benefiting even severe conditions, and in some cases, where we have little to offer by any extant medical system.
Ideally, for the study, we will have a boat, with proper recording gear, hydrophones, DAT recorders, video, heart rate, blood pressure, EEG, EKG, evoked response, done with 14 or more electrodes so that we can map the surface activity of the brain before and after interaction.
Other appropriate measurements will be done to access the effects of dolphin interaction on particular conditions.
Measurements taken prior to and after dolphin interaction, will be compared to access any changes observed to the condition under study.
The results will be published and distributed. We hope to make a contribution to our understanding of what effects dolphins can have on people, and perhaps innaugurate a new era of medicine in full partnership with the dolphins.
Should our study succeeds in showing that a brain condition that is beyond help, using our current techniques, is restored by interaction with the dolphins, the implications are vast.
Sirius Institute and its podners are honored to assist in this wonderful project.
Sincerely yours, in the Spirit of Aloha,
Michael T. Hyson, Ph.D.
October 23, 1999