Oxytocin is an ancient substance :
Oxytocin is a hormone that has “been present in the chain of animal development for millions of years… The fact that oxytocin has existed for such a long time… indicates that the substance is of fundamental importance and performs vital functions”.
Oxytocin is the hormone of love :
Oxytocin is stimulated under many circumstances related to love as you shall read on. Love isn’t just about two partners but also the love you have for family and friends. Hugging and holding hands is common among most close relationships and many animals can be seen grooming each other. It’s not surprising then that the activities normal for early romantic relationships increase the amount of oxytocin (e.g. hand holding, looking into each other’s eyes, candlelit meals etc).
Oxytocin is the hormone of calm and bonding :
Hanging out with friends, stroking your pet dog, cuddling up on the sofa with your partner… all of these things produce feelings of calm and bonding and increases the release of oxytocin.
Oxytocin makes us feel tired :
Ever been to the beach for a day and relaxed in the sand, feeling warm and listening to the sound of the waves? On the way home you feel exhausted and very sleepy? That’s oxytocin! Oxytocin increases at the end of pregnancy, builds rapidly during labour and peeks at birth, then carries on being produced in high levels throughout the first three months of motherhood. Women often report feeling really tired. That’s oxytocin! Feeling safe and promoting relaxation during these times will help you to conserve your energy, increase bonding and love with your baby, reduce anxieties and absorb more nutrition.
Similar hormone is found in birds and reptiles :
“Birds and reptiles produce a similar substance, mesotocin, that corresponds with the ancient hormone oxytocin, and even the earthworm has its oxytocin to stimulate egg laying”.
Breathing slowly helps release oxytocin :
The chemical makeup of oxytocin includes 12 oxygen molecules. The chemical makeup of adrenalin on the other hand, includes just three molecules. This is one of the reasons why breathing slowly and deeply helps us to calm down and relax.
Oxytocin helps to heal wounds :
More interesting facts about oxytocin… “Oxytocin stimulates growth, not only by promoting the development of the animal as a whole but also by accelerating the healing of wounds. Oxytocin injections make sores on a rat’s back heal more quickly than they would otherwise. They also heal and rejuvenate mucous membranes, and produce anti-inflammatory reactions”. How wonderful for the body to provide such an amazing natural healer straight after birth.
Oxytocin promotes maternal behaviour :
As well as creating calm, bonding, love and healing, oxytocin stimulates the hormone prolactin straight after birth. On a physical level prolactin is responsible for the production of breastmilk and on a behavioural/emotional level it produces mothering instincts and behaviours.
Oxytocin is released into both the blood and nervous system :
Unlike most other hormones, oxytocin stimulates its own production. Oxytocin receptors around the body, when activated, stimulate the cells to produce more oxytocin. Oxytocin is released into both the blood and nervous system and it is thought that this helps the feedback loop.