Oxytocin is not often a hormone that is much talked about. It's known generally as the ‘LOVE' hormone, but has all sorts of benefits for us.
It's a hormone that is released in your brain (in your hypothalamus), then distributed by the pituitary gland to the rest of your brain. It can stimulate emotions of love, trust, connection, empathy, bonding and comfort.
It also works with serotonin and dopamine, making these 3 a powerful trio of super happy hormones!
When is oxytocin released?
- During childbirth it's main job is to stimulate contractions
- When you need to bond with your baby (cuddling and breastfeeding trigger it)
- When you fall in love, during sex and orgasm
- When you're with good friends
- By hugging, holding hands or being massaged
- By stroking or hugging your pet
As well as making you feel good, research into oxytocin has revealed its far-reaching health benefits.
How does oxytocin benefit your health?
- It decreases the level of stress hormones (primarily cortisol) your body manufactures – helping us to feel calm and sleep better.
- It can protect your heart, by dilating the arteries, it helps supply the heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients – and lowers your blood pressure.
- It's good for your gut – it has been proven to calm inflammation, reducing the risk of food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders, and underlying infections.
- It can aid muscle and joint pain due to the anti-inflammatory effects.
- It can offer protection against accelerated signs of ageing and better regeneration of aged tissue cells.
- It may be good for weight loss (oxytocin may reduce hunger signals in the brain).
- It can improve sexual pleasure, and also help with conception (uterus contractions helping sperm motility).
- It is being proposed as a potential treatment for anxiety and depression.
We all need a bit more oxytocin, so here’s how to get some without having to give birth!
- Hold hands with someone
- Give someone a big hug – the longer the better
- Get a massage
- Stroke your pet
- Have more sex and/or orgasms
- Spend time with friends or people you love (even planning a get together can provide you with a boost!)
- Phone someone you haven’t spoken to in a while
- Give (or receive) a gift
- Volunteer or donate to charity
- Cook and share meals with others
- Have a good laugh (watch your favourite comedy or spend time with someone that makes you laugh)
- Listen to your favourite uplifting music
And if you can’t do any of that right now, just have a relaxing bath in Epsom salts and your favourite essential oil – a bit of self care can be just as nourishing.
Do share the love – send this blog to anyone you know who needs a bit more oxytocin!
And do contact us if you need help with your hormones or health for info on how we can help.