Every thought you have creates a chemical response in your body.

Every emotion you experience creates a chemical reaction in your body.

Chemicals known as hormones are released depending on your experience & can be as multitudinous as the myriad of emotions you feel at any one time. Breastfeeding a baby you love may release oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin; a risqué rendezvous with a lover may release oxytocin, dopamine & adrenalin.

Oxytocin is our love & wellbeing hormone; our “tend & befriend” hormone which calms & connects us & helps us build trust with others. It supports our immune system & helps regulate more volatile emotions.

You can trigger oxytocin production by many actions including listening to calming music, exercising with a friend, using certain essential oils such as rose & lavender, stroking a pet, hugging, massage & visualizing loving images.

We tend to be flooded with oxytocin most when we have sex with someone we love or when breastfeeding. It is essential for bonding. Nurturing touch, hugs & massage also produces significant levels of oxytocin.

This has been a hot topic of conversation this week as more & more clients return to having the massage treatment they love. We have been discussing the irony of the isolation during COVID-19 lockdown & missing massage, loving touch & hugs & yet how vital positive touch is to support our immune system & mental health.

During these conversations I have shared how different levels of nurturing touch in whatever form can influence our feelings & wellbeing.  I think it goes something like this:

-Big levels of oxytocin are released when we receive wanted hugs or massage.

-Good doses are also released by the giver of the hug or massage. It’s why I love my job & have been known to describe my service as cuddling people better especially as I use the whole of my forearms in most treatments.

-When you see someone receiving a hug or massage we still release oxytocin as our empathy buttons are pressed. Imagine that warm gush of love when you see people hugging loved ones when they meet them off the train. It also explains why when I have done taster massage treatments at public events that co-stall-holders have said they have felt relaxed all day just watching me work.

-And finally, even when you think about cuddling someone or having your next massage, it sends a wee boost of oxytocin which is rooted in our memory of the feeling of wellbeing.

So next time you are distally seeing a person you have love for, send them an air cuddle. Next time you are video calling or phoning a friend, ask them to imagine you squeezing them. Next time you feel a low, bring to mind the best hugger in your life & take a moment to feel it.

Choose oxytocin – Choose love.