I bet you visit the aquarium on holidays, and most of us do to learn or just have fun. But could you have imagined that watching this dazzling underwater orchestra can be clinically cleansing?
Research from across the globe has revealed that caring for or simply being exposed to fish and underwater settings have a sound effect on ones wellbeing. While there has been significant research into the importance and impact of green space (vegetation, gardens and/or forest) and blue space (waterbodies) on our health, the connection between indoor aquatic environments and our wellbeing is a relatively new, and promising, field of study uncovering amazing truths about how nature works.
The restorative effects of natural settings can be attributed to four key elements:
- Fascination -an aquarium is able to capture and suspend a person’s curiosity and attention.
- Being away – a break from monotony, aquariums inspire an inspirational feeling of being transported to another realm.
- Extent – an underwater environment is prolific, luring you in
- Compatibility – a person voluntarily gazes upon the underwater setting, or visits a public aquarium with the intention and expectation to do so.
Research shows that exposure to fish and underwater environments provide a rich array of benefits:
- Improved mood
- Enhanced relaxation and stress reduction
- Decreased physical aggression
- Ppsychological restoration
- Overall physical and mental wellbeing – indicated by lowered heart rate and blood pressure. One study exposed participants to a tank in three stages – ‘un-stocked’ (water, rocks, and sea weed), ‘partially stocked’ (few fish released) and ‘fully stocked’ (marine life doubled). Findings revealed that heart rate and blood pressure lowered by more than 7% with the fully stocked tank as compared to 3% with the un-stocked tank.
- Effective healing tool in high-stress environments
Researchers studied the impact that exposure to fish and underwater settings had on Alzheimer’s patients. It found that those with the tendency to pace or wander about spent maximum time at the aquarium and the sedentary ones became more alert. Food intake saw a 21% increase with subsequent weight gain. Moreover, patients were less physically aggressive and more relaxed.
So there we have it! Exposure to aquariums, fish and indoor underwater environments has a positive effect on our health. What’s more unbelievable? Just watching a video stream (pun intended) of marine life can exert similar effects.
These scientific findings are creating ripples in the field of ‘animal assisted therapy’ and ‘pet therapy’. They are being widely used as a therapeutic tool to reduce anger, depression, stress, and anxiety in schools, hospitals, prisons and nursing homes.