During a recent consultation with my personal physician to discuss joint pain issues, I mentioned that on bad days, I preferred to stay in bed with the cats. My doctor said, “Oh that’s excellent! A cat’s purr is known to help strengthen bones.” Of course, I had to ask him to kindly tell me what in the world he was talking about and I learned that having cats has actually been scientifically proven to promote healing! A cat’s purr (vibrational stimulation) has been linked to the relief of suffering in persons with both acute and chronic pain, generating new tissue growth, augmenting wound tissue strength, improving local circulation and oxygenation, reducing swelling and inhibiting bacterial growth.
As people who have chosen to share our homes and hearts with cats, we already know of their ability to calm us when we are unwell or upset. How many times have you been home from work or school, languishing in bed “under the weather” and then your cats come into the room, snuggle down beside you and purr away? Can it be that they actually sense our pain and want to help us relieve it? Well, talk to anyone who has a cat and the evidence seems to point to the fact that they most certainly do! What’s even more astounding is that scientific research now proves that a cat’s purr can actually help us to heal.
There is an old veterinary school adage that states "If you put a cat in the same room with a pile of broken bones, the bones will heal".
Ask any veterinary orthopedic surgeon about how relatively easy it is to mend broken cat bones, as compared with dogs. They will tell you that cats do not experience nearly the number of orthopedic diseases or ligament and muscle traumas as dogs experience, and that non-union of bone fractures in cats is rare. Researchers believe that a cat’s purr is the self-healing mechanism behind these amazing facts.
There is extensive documentation that suggests that low vibrational frequencies, at low intensity, are therapeutic. These frequencies can aid bone growth, promote fracture healing and joint mobility, provide pain relief, promote tendon and muscle strength and repair, and help in the reduction of swelling. This data suggests that frequencies of 25 and 50 Hz are the best frequencies for promoting bone strength, with 100 Hz and 200 Hz being the second best. Exposure to these signals elevates bone strength by approximately 30%, and increases the speed at which the fractures heal.
In order to prove the theory of the therapeutic benefits of a cat’s purr, scientists needed to measure the domestic cat's purr and how purr vibration is spread throughout its body. Extremely sensitive monitors were used for this purpose. These monitors were mounted adhesively; they required no external power, were ground isolated and no cats were harmed in any way. The scientists prepared the cats by shaving a section of fur and these small meters were placed directly onto the skin of the cats. The monitors were stabilized using washable cosmetic glue and medical tape. Each testing session lasted between 6 and 10 minutes. During the testing phase, the cats were comfortably resting on blankets and were encouraged to purr by occasionally stroking them. Data was then acquired and analyzed.
All of the cats in the study had purr frequencies between 20 Hertz and 200 Hertz, notably 25 Hz, 50 Hz, 100 Hz, 125 Hz, and 150 Hz! Results indicated that despite size and different genetics, all of the individual cats had very strong purr frequencies that fell well within the range of a multitude of therapeutic frequencies. It should come as no surprise to those of us with cats that they are nature’s little healers. That fact that the cats in this study produced frequencies that have been proven to improve healing time, strength and mobility could explain our cats somehow just “knowing” when we are unwell. By doing nothing more than comfortably resting along side us as we recover, their purr acts as a vibrational therapeutic system that helps us to heal that much faster, experience less pain and discomfort and to potentially even strengthen our bodies to prevent osteo-diseases.
So the next time you aren’t feeling your best, simply snuggle down into the warmth of your bed with the cats. The evidence proves that not only is this an enjoyable pastime when we are unwell, but also that the therapeutic benefits are numerous to the body as well.
Written by Gaye Flagg
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