Natural Oxytocin BoostersJuly 17, 2013 Written by JP [Font too small?]
Just about everyone can relate to this scenario: You’re at a family gathering, a party or work and you experience one form or another of rejection. For many, the first instinct is to retreat from the situation i.e. leave as quickly as possible. But, a recent study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology suggests you’d be better off taking an entirely different tack. Namely, you may be able to improve your mood almost instantaneously if you stick around and force yourself to interact and seek support from those around you. However, doing so, may, in fact, require higher levels of oxytocin, a hormone that plays a pivotal role in breastfeeding, childbirth and many expressions of social connectedness.
Because of the numerous desirable effects of oxytocin (OT) in individuals and relationships, researchers have been studying the potential benefits of administering OT as a medication. However, a prescription for oxytocin isn’t required in order to increase your own production of this feel good hormone. What’s more, according to the holistic/integrative model of health, it’s preferable to positively manipulate hormonal status without the use of exogenous and/or synthesized hormones.
A review of the scientific literature indicates that there are several, clinically proven ways of naturally boosting oxytocin levels in the body. Topping the list is massage. As little as 15 minutes of massage therapy has been shown to increase OT while lowering cortisol and adrenocorticotropin, two stress hormones. Listening to soothing music or expressing yourself vocally in song have likewise been shown to encourage OT release and promote well-being. Spending time with pets (dogs in particular) raises OT levels in both animal and human participants. Hugging and other forms of “warm touch” between married couples and partners is also a guaranteed OT stimulating activity. Finally, the regular practice of yoga is documented as improving oxytocin concentrations, even in those who have specific social challenges such as schizophrenics. The unifying link between all of these activities is that they tend to promote overall wellness in addition to positive emotional states. So, the next time you feel rejected or slighted in any way, don’t isolate yourself. Instead, consider the previously mentioned options. And, better yet, reach out and share them with others who may need a little extra oxytocin themselves.
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 - Feeling Stressed? Oxytocin Could Help You Reach Out to Others for … (link)
Study 2 - Massage Increases Oxytocin and Reduces Adrenocorticotropin Hormone … (link)
Study 3 - A Preliminary Study of the Effects of Repeated Massage on … (link)
Study 4 - Soothing Music Can Increase Oxytocin Levels During Bed Rest After … (link)
Study 5 – Does Singing Promote Well-Being?: An Empirical Study of Professional … (link)
Study 6 - Influence of a “Warm Touch” Support Enhancement Intervention … (link)
Study 7 - Effects of Partner Support on Resting Oxytocin, Cortisol … (link)
Study 8 – More Frequent Partner Hugs and Higher Oxytocin Levels Are Linked to … (link)
Study 9 - Made For Each Other: Exploring How People & Animals bond — And Why … (link)
Study 10 - Yoga Therapy for Schizophrenia … (link)
Listening to Soothing Music Stimulates Oxytocin Release
Source: J Clin Nurs. 2009 Aug;18(15):2153-61. (link)
Tags: Cortisol, Pets, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health