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Health benefits from dolphin-assisted therapy are sup-ported by measurements of brain wave patterns, bloodchemistry, brain scans, and cell analysis of patients. Butways to explain these improvements are still being studied.Explanations range from the idea that swimming with dol-phins somehow stimulates the immune system to promotehealing, to the more romantic notion that patients whointeract with dolphins experience such joy that theybecome more “open” to recovery. Some people believe that dolphins are uniquely sensi-tive to the needs of people with disabilities, and seek tohelp them through playful expressions of concern. Thereis a “secret language,” they say, shared by dolphins andpeople with disabilities. Perhaps dolphins communicateboth with sound and with a variety of movements, and areextra-sensitive to the body cues of people who have diffi-culty communicating with others through speech, such asthose with autism or developmental delays.Some say it’s almost as if the dolphins can understand thethoughts and actions of people who are unable to putthese things into words.

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