Also known as the Love Hormone, the benefits of having Oxytocin released in your body are amazing!
What is Oxytocin? 'It is a peptide hormone and neuropeptide normally produced in the hypothalamus and released by the posterior pituitary. It plays a role in social bonding, reproduction, childbirth, and the period after childbirth' - Wikipedia Oxytocin meaning.
When Is Oxytocin Released?
This hormone is found in the brain, in the ovaries of women, and in the testicles of men. It is mainly released during three significant life events: lovemaking, birth, and breastfeeding. But it is also released through tender, loving touch. This Oxytocin hormone plays an essential role in bonding between a mother and her baby and between two people in a loving relationship.
A single dose of Oxytocin can decrease headaches; for some people, it can make the pain go away entirely after just four hours. So before you take medication for your headache, experiment a little with one of the following ways to release that magical hormone and see if it brings you some relief.
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How to Stimulate Oxytocin Release
Cuddling & Skin-to-Skin Contact
Skin-to-skin contact has many benefits, but one of these is the release of hormones that promote breastfeeding. Oxytocin is released when a mother and baby are touching; in fact, a mother may experience a rush of Oxytocin when she hears, sees, or even thinks about her baby.
Massage can release oxytocin in both the mother and baby through physical touch and the relaxation it brings. Massage can also help to relax the mother and reduce stress, which can further contribute to the release of oxytocin.
Learn about baby massage and how it can benefit the mother and the baby.
An artificial form of Oxytocin called Pitocin can be prescribed by a doctor and taken as an Oxytocin nasal spray. It is usually taken just before pumping and breastfeeding to promote let-down and increase milk flow.
An interesting fact about oxytocin is that it has been shown to be involved in the formation of memories, particularly memories related to social bonding and attachment. It has been shown to enhance the consolidation of memories, making them more stable and long-lasting - increasing the release of other brain chemicals involved in memory, such as norepinephrine and acetylcholine.
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Oxytocin Function & Benefits
- Oxytocin may lower blood pressure by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the body's "rest and digest" functions. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system can lead to a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. It may also cause the blood vessels to relax and dilate, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
- Improves Sleep. Oxytocin has been shown to have several positive effects on sleep, including increasing sleep duration and improving sleep quality. It may also help to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, promoting longer periods of sleep and increasing the depth of sleep.
- Helps with the Bonding Process. Oxytocin helps with bonding by promoting a sense of connection and trust.
- Relieves Pain. Oxytocin relieves pain by acting on the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. It has been shown to activate these receptors, which can lead to a decrease in pain perception and an increase in pain tolerance. Oxytocin may also have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help to reduce inflammation and associated pain.
- Reduces Stress, Anxiety, fear, and Depression.
- Improves your Mood. Oxytocin increases feelings of happiness and well-being by releasing other mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, such as Serotonin and Dopamine.
- Strengthens the Immune System. Oxytocin strengthens the immune system by increasing the production and activity of immune cells such as T cells and natural killer cells. These cells are crucial to the immune system's ability to fight infections and diseases.