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More Dolphin Therapy Planned in Onna

Date Posted: 2001-03-30

Using dolphins to assist people with a variety of medical conditions has been done in a small way for several years in Okinwa. Plans have just been announced to dramatically increase the availability of the therapy because of the large demand for it.

Dolphin therapy has been practiced once a week in Onna Village, Okinawa since 1996, the only program of its kind in Japan. It was started to help children with skin allergies for whom sea bathing would be beneficial, but who disliked the stinging sensation they got from seawater. If dolphins were there to play with most of the children forgot about their skin irritations and the salt water helped them get better. Parents of autistic children heard about the program and it was expanded to help children with developmental and communication problems. So far 110 children have tried dolphin therapy. The Health Science Foundation in Onna Village and the Department of Neurology at the National Children’s Hospital now plan to make the therapy a permanent option, available to the many who want to try it.

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