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Natural Oxytocin Boosters

July 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.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

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)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, General Health, Mental Health

8 Comments & Updates to “Natural Oxytocin Boosters”

  1. Jo Says:

    Hi, great post! I just found your blog via Maria’s Nutritional Consulting. Have been thinking a lot lately about the “3 pillars” of health/weight loss – diet, exercise, and relaxation/stress relief. This has given me some wonderful ideas for boosting the stress relief side of things. Thanks :)

  2. JP Says:

    Thank you, Jo! I wish you much success in your quest for greater wellness!

    Be well!

    JP

  3. G Paul F. Says:

    Hi John Paul,

    I think you have brought to the light a fantastic strategy to improve mood, raise your self esteem, boost your overall wellness and in the process promote more happiness around you!

    Thank you for your valuable advice!

    Paul

  4. JP Says:

    Many thanks, Paul! :-)

    Be well!

    JP

  5. Joshua @ Natural Alternative Remedy Says:

    Solid article. Additionally, get a ton of dogs and just cuddle them up whenever you’re sad. Its amazing how well a good play session or squeeze with your beloved pet works. Works almost as well as human contact (for some people just as well, actually).

    -Joshua

  6. JP Says:

    Thanks, Joshua! Sounds like good medicine to me! :-)

    Be well!

    JP

  7. JP Says:

    Update: Yoga appears to increase oxytocin levels in patients living with schizophrenia …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768223/

    Effect of yoga therapy on plasma oxytocin and facial emotion recognition deficits in patients of schizophrenia

    “The study supported the role of add-on yoga therapy in management of schizophrenia and demonstrated an improvement in endogenous plasma oxytocin levels in schizophrenia patients receiving yoga therapy.”

    Be well!

    JP

  8. JP Says:

    Update 07/11/15:

    http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00058/full

    Front Psychiatry. 2015 Apr 21;6:58.

    Salivary oxytocin concentrations in seven boys with autism spectrum disorder received massage from their mothers: a pilot study.

    Seven male children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), aged 8-12 years, attending special education classrooms for ASD and disabled children, were assigned to receive touch therapy. Their mothers were instructed to provide gentle touch in the massage style of the International Liddle Kidz Association. The mothers gave massages to their child for 20 min every day over a period of 3 months, followed by no massage for 4 months. To assess the biological effects of such touch therapy, saliva was collected before and 20 min after a single session of massage for 20 min from the children and mothers every 3 weeks during the massage period and every 4 weeks during the non-massage period, when they visited a community meeting room. Salivary oxytocin levels were measured using an enzyme immunoassay kit. During the period of massage therapy, the children and mothers exhibited higher oxytocin concentrations compared to those during the non-massage period. The changes in oxytocin levels before and after a single massage session were not significantly changed in children and mothers. The results suggested that the ASD children (massage receivers) and their mothers (massage givers) show touch therapy-dependent changes in salivary oxytocin concentrations.

    Be well!

    JP

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