Have you ever wondered why many dentists have aquariums in their offices? It’s not just a coincidence! Believe it or not, aquarium therapy is a legitimate concept. The use of fish tanks, aquariums or even digital images of fish in aquatic environments can provide potential health benefits to people in various ways. Having an aquarium in a dental office gives patients something to watch and contemplate while they wait in the lobby. This can lead to significant reduction in their stress and anxiety levels. One study even found that dental patients required less pain medication after having observed fish in the office aquarium before their appointment. Another study that tested patient hypnosis versus aquarium therapy concluded that those who watched fish received the same or greater benefits than those who underwent hypnosis. Moreover, according to the principles of feng shui, moving water is beneficial to balancing chi, or universal energy.
Dentists aren’t the only health care providers to utilize this technique either. Studies dating as far back as the 80’s have shown that aquariums, both personal or office ones, are good ways to combat daily stress, insomnia, and high blood pressure. While statistically significant results haven’t been attained yet, many trials associate having an aquarium with lowering blood pressure levels in hypertensive patients, calming down patients with hyperactive disorder, and helping to establish appetite and reduce supplement dependency in Alzheimer’s patients.
Next time you go to the dentist and rifle through old magazines as you wait, take a few minutes to make some fishy friends. Odds are, you won’t have to travel all the way to the office of P. Sherman on 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney in order to find a Nemo of your own.
-Sachi Mehrotra, Los Angeles ’15, predental