As any cat would tell you, our feline friends have much to teach us.
While this includes the importance of keeping a steady supply of catnip and feather toys handy, we can also gain insight into our own health.
A self-described “cat-lady” colleague recently sent me an article detailing how a cat’s purr can be connected to improved bone density. Curiosity got to me and I decided to take a closer look.
Why do cats purr and how is it connected to bone health?
Most of us believe a purring cat is a happy cat. But it seems that purring can also be a sign of stress or injury, leading researchers to suspect that cats purr for self-healing. Examining further, researchers discovered cats may even be increasing their bone health through the constant low pressure vibrations that come with purring.
It seems that purring frequencies are often right on target to improve bone density and possibly even fracture healing. During a “purr analysis” of frequency ranges done at the Cincinnati Zoo, the dominant frequency for three species of domestic and wild cats’ purrs was 25 Hz or 50 hertz. In studies using vibration platforms to build bone, researchers suggest 30-50 hertz seems to resonate with bone to stimulate bone growth.
Of course, we humans are already looking at how this knowledge can benefit us! I find it fascinating that we may be able to develop better support for astronauts in zero gravity based on the bone building effect for an animal which might get very little physical activity.
More healing power from pets
Pippa and Sarah bring me to a final thought about cats and bone health. One of my intentions for 2014 was to exploring the healing powers of happiness and love. I do know that the love and companionship of any kind of pet is one way to help many of us cultivate the kindness and caring that can enhance every aspect of our health. Take good care of them and they will take good care of you. To you and your furry (or not-so-furry) friends, I wish you good health!
Lyons, L. (2006, April 3) Why do cats purr? Scientific American. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-cats-purr/
Von Muggenthaler, E. (2006, September 18-20) The Felid Purr: A bio-mechanical healing mechanism. Presented at the 12th International Conference on Low Frequency Noise and Voice and its Control. http://www.animalvoice.com (accessed 03.17.2014)
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.