Deep pressure therapy facilitated by a service dog can be beneficial for individuals living with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). POTS is a condition characterized by an abnormal increase in heart rate upon standing, leading to various symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting. Here's how deep pressure therapy provided by a service dog can help:
Sensory Regulation: Deep pressure therapy involves the application of firm, evenly distributed pressure to the body. This pressure stimulates the proprioceptive system, which helps regulate sensory input and provides a sense of body awareness and stability. For individuals with POTS, who may experience sensory dysregulation and difficulty processing external stimuli, deep pressure therapy can help create a calming effect, reducing the impact of sensory overload and promoting a sense of grounding.
Blood Flow and Circulation: POTS affects blood circulation, resulting in blood pooling in the lower extremities and reduced blood flow to the brain. Deep pressure therapy assists in improving blood circulation and preventing blood from pooling in the lower limbs. The pressure applied by a service dog can help facilitate venous return, enhancing blood flow and reducing symptoms associated with poor circulation, such as dizziness and lightheadedness.
Anxiety and Stress Reduction: Living with POTS can be emotionally challenging, leading to increased anxiety and stress levels. Deep pressure therapy has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system by triggering the release of serotonin and endorphins, which are neurotransmitters associated with feelings of relaxation and well-being. The comforting pressure provided by a service dog can help reduce anxiety, promote emotional stability, and alleviate stress-related symptoms that individuals with POTS commonly experience.
Body Support and Posture: POTS can cause difficulties with balance, coordination, and maintaining an upright posture due to orthostatic intolerance. Service dogs trained in deep pressure therapy can offer support by leaning against or lying on their handler, providing a counterbalance and enhancing stability. The pressure exerted by the dog's body can assist in maintaining proper alignment, reducing the risk of falls, and improving overall posture.
Focus and Distraction: Symptoms of POTS, such as rapid heart rate and dizziness, can be distressing and overwhelming. Deep pressure therapy provided by a service dog can serve as a sensory distraction, redirecting the individual's focus away from their symptoms. The tactile pressure and tactile stimulation can help shift attention and provide a comforting sensation, promoting a sense of calm and aiding in symptom management.
Deep pressure therapy by a service dog can offer significant benefits to individuals with POTS. By regulating sensory input, improving blood flow, reducing anxiety, providing physical support, and acting as a distraction, service dogs contribute to the overall well-being and symptom management of individuals living with POTS. Their unique ability to deliver deep pressure therapy makes them valuable companions and therapeutic aids for those seeking relief and support in their daily lives.