Sunday, 21 November 2010
In the 1970’s and 80’s Russian scientists undertook research into reducing the healing time of injured elite athletes. Researchers discovered that vibrations of certain frequencies did accelerate the repair of damaged muscle and decreased joint swelling and pain - by stimulating the body to produce endogenous non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compounds.
Is it a coincidence that the frequency of a cat’s purr falls within this critical range? Further research showed that vibrations in the region of 25 – 50 Hz can increase bond density, speed up fracture healing and increase measurable bone strength by up to 20%. Elizabeth von Muggenthaler, a researcher in bioacoustics, measured the purr frequency of various felid species from cheetahs to domestic cats. She found they ranged from 20 to 140 Hz with the average house cat clocking in at 25 – 50 Hz – which makes the good old moggie the perfect companion for people suffering from osteoporosis!
There are many legends associating cats with the ability to heal. The Japanese believed a black cat could relieve spasms if placed on the patient’s stomach, and could also cure epilepsy and melancholia.
Scottish folklore tells that fur and blood drawn from a cats, could treat all ailments. For example;
‘Blindness: take the head of a black cat, burn it to ashes in an earthenware pot, then blow these ashes into the affected eye three times a day from a goose quill.’
Cat skin was also a remedy for burns. The Dutch believed that wearing the pelt of a freshly skinned cat would cure inflammation of the skin, whilst draping a cat across the shoulders of the afflicted was a certain cure for arthritis.
Venturing further back to the time of the ancient Egyptians and the cat goddess ‘Bastet’ who possessed the ability to heal. Artefacts exist bearing the inscription ‘Bastet – the nurse’ showing an engraving of a cat. The Egyptians put such faith in Bastet’s healing power that households would have a small statue of this regal feline as a talisman to ward off the evil spirits that caused ill health. The equivalent much less elegant, old English tradition was to cut off a black cat’s tail and bury it beneath the doorstep – thus protecting the inhabitants from sickness.
However, it seems not all pets are beneficial for health. An NHS review into reasons for hospital admissions (2002) highlighted interesting statistics. Out of nearly one million people admitted, rat bites accounted for twenty-two whilst one enterprising individual (in
, don’t forget!) went to the trouble of being bitten by a crocodile! England
Me? Cant go wrong with cats!