Pre-birth stimulation – a dangerous game
Everybody of us, being a parent, wants the best for his children. We wish to see them grow healthy and strong, to develop their physical and mental capacities to a maximum level, so that they are well equipped to compete in this world, creating the base for a happy, secure and successful life.
Pre-birth stimulation is “in”. It can be defined as activities that aim to stimulate he child already at the stage of being a fetus, for example by playing classical music, in order to increase its capacity even before birth. Followers of pre-birth stimulation believe that it improves the physical, mental and sensorial potential of the fetus, and leads to a constant and more intense communication between the child and its parents.
Now the Hotel Los Delfines promotes to have discovered the way to improve the fetus growth of brain cells, and in order to give it an additional cultural and mystic touch the program was named “Challwa wa wa” (Quechua word for “water baby”):
The two dolphins spend about 15 minutes, once a week, with each pregnant participant of the program. They swim up to the woman, who is sits at the dolphin tank’s edge, and gently nudge her exposed belly with their snouts. At the same time, the animals are emitting a high-frequency sound, which researchers believe stimulates the baby’s brain.
Elizabeth Yalan, the dean of the Nurse College of Peru, claimed in October 2005 in an article of the international Health Telegraph that dolphins’ ultrasonic emissions can boost brain growth in fetuses. “The high-range sounds stimulate the nerves in the brain and the child’s audible senses,” she said.
The web site of CILDE explains to us the reason for the “dolphin effect”:
”While measuring brain waves of patients it has been shown that they change in the presence of dolphins leading to a harmonization between the right and the left brain hemisphere, which produces a state of peace and relaxation as it happens if one practices meditation.”
Up until here we may follow the organizations argument. Definitively for the great majority of people encountering dolphins is something enchanting and relaxing. The brain reaction of the mother therefore has a good explanation. But with the following paragraphs CILDE drifts away into the land of dreams:
”Definitely there is an harmonization established between the brain of the person and the dolphin, as these mammals almost always maintain a brain activity of low frequency in the so called Alfa level, precisely the level of meditation which is thought by several spiritual schools and which takes us to remember the peace of people being at a high level of spiritual mastership.
When we evaluate the heart frequencies of the child within the uterus, being close to a dolphin, we can observe an immediate acceleration of Herat beats (from 140 beats per minute, which is the average, to 160), the child shows increased movements within the uterus and a state of permanent alert, being verified by ultrasound images”.
In which way and base on what science the Dean of the Regional College for Nurses III, Lima, Callao, Mrs Elizabeth Yalán Leal, concludes that that this indicates a positive effect of neuronal brain cell growth, still stays her personal secret and one would like to analyze critically the scientific methods applied by within the common “research program” of the Hotel and the nurses.
“The high-frequency waves made by dolphins may well ‘wobble’ our brain matter, but there is no way of knowing what the after-effects of this – if there are any – might be,” says Dr George Lewith, head of the Complementary Medicine Research Unit at Southampton University. “Swimming with dolphins makes people feel wonderfully relaxed and happy, which probably brings with it the physiological improvements associated with feeling happier. But the rest of it is impossible to prove.“
Philip Steer, professor of obstetrics at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Imperial College, London, thinks that Mrs Yaláns thesis it is highly unlikely. “As far as we know, brain growth in a fetus is determined by nutrition and oxygen supply, which depends on the baby’s ability to use the placenta. Proving that a dolphin sound helps a baby’s brain growth is like trying to prove the existence of God – it is not a question of science, but of belief.”
Janet DiPietro, a professor at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University who specializes in fetal development, says no study has conclusively proven that exposing fetuses to sounds is beneficial. She noted a fetus reacts to any kind of outside stimulation, from Mozart to the noise of a vacuum cleaner. “It’s highly unlikely [dolphin therapy] would be doing anything to foster brain development in a specific direction. Just because you’re seeing a fetal reaction doesn’t mean it’s benefiting the fetus.”
Meanwhile however, one should ask for the possible risk involved for the mothers participating in this project of very questionable character.
“In fact, sounds that are directed right at the abdomen amplify in the womb and could damage the baby’s hearing”, said Janet DiPietro.
According to Dr. Koen Van Waerebeek, member of the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group the reactions of the fetus are most probably signs of danger: “If the rhythm of the of human fetus increases as a consequence of the sound of the dolphins (as it was indicated), it is more probable that this suggests a stimulation of the glands and the production of epinefrine and/or norepinefrine, being hormones in connection with the sensation of anger, fear, stress and the will to flee, than being a sign of “improving life quality”. In other words, the fetus could suffer sensations of fear and aversion. The supposed “sweet” sounds of the “nice” dolphins are cultural and personal criteria, not physiological ones and therefore can not be applied to the fetus. Dolphins, marine predators, can produce the energetically densest sounds in the animal kingdom, sound developed to navigate in darkness and to hunt with lethal efficiency fish and squid, without any “sweetness”.”
Additionally to the sounds emitted by the dolphins there are also serious concerns about the transmission of diseases, as well as the possibility of attacks by the dolphins that could cause serious injuries or death of the mother and abortion of the fetus.
The efficiency of medical and paramedical treatments must be proved by scientific evidence, not by anecdotic reports of commercial background.
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Page author: Stefan Austermühle
Read more about dolphin captivity and the Hotel los Delfines at:
- What you can do to free Wayra and Yaku
- Life-capture kills
- Dolphins suffer during transport
- Life in captivity is hell
- Captive dolphins kill each other
- Captivity makes dolphins sick
- Captivity kills
- No chance for dolphin calves
- Dolphins must be free
- The Hotel Los Delfines
- CILDE – a smoke screen NGO
- Dolphin therapy
- Does captivity educate our children to care?
- Swimming with captive dolphins is dangerous
You can also read the HSUS report “The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity“.
Whale watching as an alternative to dolphin killing
Mundo Azuls whale and dolphin research