Is it any wonder the bond between dolphins and mankind is as strong today as it was thousands of years ago? These wise, intelligent masters of the sea have been coming to the aide of seafarers in distress through the ages.
Worshipped as gods by the Greeks and revered by the Maori, dolphins represent the nurturing, redemptive side of an otherwise treacherous and unforgiving ocean. We repay them with pollution and unwarranted violence, yet these merciful creatures continue to give.
Peru has some new stars in the field of pre-natal therapy. Are they doctors? No. Are they midwives? No. They are, indeed dolphins. It’s the perfect role for these super-intelligent mammals which have appeared as symbols of rebirth in many cultural mythologies.
These two dolphins, known as Wayra and Yaku, are at their place of work – The Los Delfines Hotel in San Isidoro, Lima. Under direction from their handlers, Wayra and Yaku interact with pregnant women in the pool. But what is the purpose of this interaction? What benefit can be gained from sharing a pool with these exotic creatures with their high-pitched voices and their faces that seem to smile mysteriously at us?
The answer lies in those high-pitched squeals that dolphins are famous for. Dolphin therapy is said to stimulate the mental growth of the unborn foetus and, at the same time, relax the expectant mother. At a signal from his trainer, Yaku approaches the pregnant woman and sings to her distended belly and the baby within.
The promoters of the therapy say that the dolphin’s song stimulates the auditory senses of the unborn infant thereby enhancing its development. To this end, dolphin therapy is used in tandem with music therapy and other, more traditional, pre-natal techniques.
Spending time with dolphins certainly seems to be a pleasant experience. Some mothers say they felt the vibrations travel through their bodies. And many feel the dolphins really want to get up close to the baby.
Wayra and Yaku’s trainer says the high-pitched sounds stimulate a part of the human brain connected to relaxation.
The healing presence of dolphins has been observed before, elsewhere. In a study conducted by the University of Wales, it was found that seventy per cent of those who listened to audio tapes of dolphin noises reported a marked increase in their mental abilities.
The idea behind dolphin therapy is that the dolphins’ song specifically stimulates the neurons in our brains. Studies of mothers and unborn infants as they undergo the therapy have shown a marked improvement in the state of the mothers’ minds and further positive effects upon the foetal heartbeat.
One doctor observed the harmonising effect of the therapy after the treatment. He found that the dolphin noises had balanced the neural signatures of both the left and right sides of the humans’ brains.
It seems that a lot can be gained from these playful porpoises with a purpose. What further secrets can they reveal to us? If their songs are so stimulating to our brains, then is it any wonder that they are the most intelligent creatures in the sea?