Feel the Love, and Get Better

A Hug will Make Feel Better.
A Hug will Make Feel Better.
- photo by ninjapoodles
Love and affection can have many positive effects, both mental and physical, that have been linked to the hormone oxytocin. Much of the research in people is still preliminary, but Dr. Kathleen Light of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says it certainly can't hurt to follow the advice the research suggests:
  • Mothers should have as much warm contact with their infants as possible, especially during the first few weeks of life. If you can't do this, though - because of illness, a premature birth or other reason - just give all the love and affection you can.
  • Mothers who've had a cesarean section may need even more warm contact time, because they haven't had the increase in oxytocin that labor produces.
  • Couples that have warm contact several times a day - hugging, holding hands, sitting close, etc. - have higher oxytocin levels than those that don't.
  • Some studies have shown a decrease in stress hormones with massage, for both the person getting the massage and the one giving it.
  • Dr. Light thinks that anything that helps you feel a sense of support and a bond with someone - even by phone or email - may help activate your oxytocin system.
    from NIH
Give those you love all the affection you can. It can't hurt, and it may bring a bounty of health benefits. :)

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