Simple Ways to Stimulate Oxytocin Naturally

Simple ways to stimulate oxytocin

This blog takes me back on the memory line.

It was on beautiful European autumn when I was waiting anxiously to see what little gift my partner will bring me from a visit in France. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the gift came in the form of a lovely hydrating face cream. I was totally into it. Mais bien sûr. It is well known that French women look after their skin. So was I. The cream, for which I will not disclose any brand or name, was fantastic. The fine lines that occurred due to the excessive sun exposure disappeared after just a week of using the cream. Disappointment came when I finished the tub….. and this brings me to the topic of today’s blog. Can ageing be prevented? Can it be ameliorated? Are the signs of ageing embedded into our genes? Some think that the answer to is “yes”. Others leave the question up to be debated. What do you think?

Yes, I know this topic is like opening the Pandora’s box. Yet the knowledge that it is accumulated on the subject is spectacular. It was to no surprise to me to observe that recent research into ageing made a connection between ageing and aromatherapy.

Let me explain. In technical terms ageing is commonly linked to a hormone, oxytocin, termed by scientists as the “great facilitator of life” (Lee et al, 2009). It is also known under the names of the “love hormone”, the “social hormone”, the “cuddle hormone”, and the “happy hormone”. Oxytocin hormone was first characterised by Sir Henry H Dale in 1906 as an extract made from the human pituitary gland. Initially, it was thought that its role is purely uterotonic. Since then its effects and roles continue to be unfolded. Here is an abbreviated list of known functions where oxytocin plays an important role (Lee et al, 2009):

  • Learning,
  • Anxiety,
  • Eating,
  • Pain reception,
  • Social memory,
  • Aggression,
  • Sexual and maternal behaviour.

Furthermore, recent research has shown that oxytocin deficiency has deleterious effects on important bodily functions:

  • It is intricately involved in a broad array of mood and anxiety disorders (Cochran et al 2014);
  • It can lead to obesity, despite normal food intake, due to altering the glucose metabolism (Ding et al, 2019);
  • It is negatively associated with anorexia nervosa in women, eating disorders, anxiety and depressive symptoms (Afinogenova et al, 2016);
  • Additional studies into the oxytocin role and the ageing phenomena established that it plays an essential role for muscle regeneration (Elabd et al 2014).

Oxytocin is being used as a prescription medicine for the treatment of a number of health conditions. As a holistic practitioner I am rather not interested in the ingestion of a synthetically obtained substance. It turns out that oxytocin levels production can be stimulated within our own bodies. Below are three easy way to stimulate it naturally.

1. Sniff-sniff that lovely oil aroma diffuser for a minimum of 20 minutes a day: Researchers from Nagasaki University, Japan (Tarumi and Shinohara, 2020) measured the effects of certain essential oils on postmenaupausal women. The conclusion of the investigation has established that oxytocin olfactory stimulation is possible after 20 minutes of inhaling the aroma of these oils. The essential oils included rose otto, sweet orange, lavender, neroli, frankincense, jasmine absolute, ylang ylang, roman chamomile, clary sage, and Indian sandalwood.

2. Have only 15 minutes massage every week: Researchers at University of California, USA have demonstrated that only a 15 minutes of moderate-pressure massage leads to an increase in the oxytocin levels in both male and female participants.

3. Find excuses to give and receive hugs: Researchers at North Carolina University, USA, reported that frequent hugs between spouses/partners led to increased oxytocin levels.

The Bottom Line: Given that oxytocin half-life is short, only 1 to 6 minutes one would require multiple bouts of it. So keep hugging, sniffing and receiving a light massage regularly. It is the only way to keep ageing process at bay. My take on ageing and the appearance of the skin: it is not what one applies on the face that makes the skin glow. Rather, the skin glowing is an after effect of a more complex process. It involves what one eats (Nutrition), what one drinks (Herbalism) as well as what ones applies on the skin or sniffs (Aromatherapy).

Thank you for reading. Until next time stay safe, stay young and healthy.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, Herbalist Aromatherapist and Nutrition Diva rather than a medical doctor or nurse. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Afinogenova, Y., Schmelkin, C., Plessow, F., Thomas, J. J., Pulumo, R., Micali, N., Miller, K. K., Eddy, K. T., & Lawson, E. A. (2016). Low Fasting Oxytocin Levels Are Associated With Psychopathology in Anorexia Nervosa in Partial Recovery. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 77(11), e1483–e1490. https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.15m10217

Cochran, D. M., Fallon, D., Hill, M., & Frazier, J. A. (2013). The role of oxytocin in psychiatric disorders: a review of biological and therapeutic research findings. Harvard review of psychiatry, 21(5), 219–247. https://doi.org/10.1097/HRP.0b013e3182a75b7d

Ding, C., Leow, M. K., & Magkos, F. (2019). Oxytocin in metabolic homeostasis: implications for obesity and diabetes management. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 20(1), 22–40. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12757

Elabd, C., Cousin, W., Upadhyayula, P., Chen, R. Y., Chooljian, M. S., Li, J., Kung, S., Jiang, K. P., & Conboy, I. M. (2014). Oxytocin is an age-specific circulating hormone that is necessary for muscle maintenance and regeneration. Nature communications, 5, 4082. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms5082

Lee, H. J., Macbeth, A. H., Pagani, J. H., & Young, W. S., 3rd (2009). Oxytocin: the great facilitator of life. Progress in neurobiology, 88(2), 127–151. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pneurobio.2009.04.001

Light, K. C., Grewen, K. M., & Amico, J. A. (2005). More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. Biological psychology, 69(1), 5–21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2004.11.002

Tarumi, W., & Shinohara, K. (2020). The Effects of Essential Oil on Salivary Oxytocin Concentration in Postmenopausal Women. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 26(3), 226–230. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2019.0361

Ignite Your Wellbeing

An Ancient Art Approach to Good Health

Aromatherapy an Overview

Where do you find stillness? How do you ease your racing thoughts in your life? The physical and mental body is adversely affected by stress, pollution, unhealthy diets, and hectic yet sedentary lifestyle.

One of my favourite ways to create calmness in my life is through Aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is a complementary holistic therapy that uses natural plant oils in the form of essential oils. The value of natural plant oils has been recognised for more than 6000 years, not only for the sheer pleasure of their fragrance but mostly for their healing, cleansing or mood-altering properties. Today’ science validates all of the above mentioned properties and so much more.

Aromatherapy aims to enhance and/or balance a person’s physical, spiritual, emotional and mental capacity. Although it can act as a preventive to disease state, Aromatherapy ignites your wellbeing by improving mental and physical health. It does that through the specific qualities of the essential oils being used either through massage or inhalation. Although these qualities aim to stimulate, refresh or sedate an individual, in rare cases they may also lead to adverse reactions.

Essential oils are highly potent and in some cases may cause allergic skin reaction. That is why at BIBI Therapy we always take your health history before your aromatic treatment as well as we skin patch test for possible allergic reaction to the essential oils to be used.

Historical Perspective

Historically, the origins of aromatherapy use can be traced trough the religious, medical and social practices. It is believed that the remarkable medicinal powers of plants have been discovered in ancient China around 4500 B.C. However, the Egyptian hieroglyphs and current research indicate that the ritual of mummification using plant-based oils aromatic preparations was very well established by 4500 B.C. (Jones et al, 2018).

Since then, great herbalists as well as scientists throughout the world have uncovered many stunning uses of plants in the form of essential oils. The application of aromatherapy from embalming to beauty and ultimately to health and well-being is constantly evolving as contemporary research makes use of novel technologies and increased understanding of human body.

Why Do We Feel so Good after Having an Aromatherapy Session?

Is there such a thing as good health (Fred, 2013)? An ancient quote on best health is attributed to Agamemnon:

There is a limit to the best of health: disease is always a near neighbor.”

For me the absence of pain is essential for wellbeing as pain is often debilitating both physically and mentally. The antinociceptive or pain reducing qualities of essential oils have only been recently validated by modern science.

The power of touch during a massage session has inestimable values. But it is our own brain that transforms the touch into feel good sensation. All those tight muscles, tension and stress melt away all because the brain, through its autonomic nervous system. This system engages in involuntary processes that calm down the mental activity, decreasing the blood pressure, slowing the pulse rate and ultimately leading to relaxation and tranquillity. Furthermore, there is a healing effect that is induced within the body during an aromatic massage therapy:

Here are some well researched and documented reasons as to why aromatherapy massage is effectively enjoyable:

  1. Massages stretches and pulls muscles accelerating the healing process (Crane et al, 2012);
  2. The combination of gentle massage and essential oils ameliorates the effects of arthritis (Bahr et al, 2018)
  3. Back and foot massage effectively improves blood pressure and sleep quality (Arslan et al, 2020);
  4. Manual therapies, including but not limited to massage therapy, for migraine sufferers may be equally effective as medication treatment (Chaibi, et al, 2011);
  5. Aromatherapy massage alleviates psychological and physiological responses for older women suffering from anxiety and depression (Bahrami et al, 2017)
  6. Abdominal aromatic essential oil massage is an effective way to relieve throbbing pain in primary dysmenorrhea (Ou et al, 2012; Sut et al, 2017).

Resources

Arslan, G., Ceyhan, Ö., & Mollaoğlu, M. (2020). The influence of foot and back massage on blood pressure and sleep quality in females with essential hypertension: a randomized controlled study. Journal of human hypertension, 10.1038/s41371-020-0371-z. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41371-020-0371-z

Bahrami, T., Rejeh, N., Heravi-Karimooi, M., Vaismoradi, M., Tadrisi, S. D., & Sieloff, C. (2017). Effect of aromatherapy massage on anxiety, depression, and physiologic parameters in older patients with the acute coronary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. International journal of nursing practice, 23(6), 10.1111/ijn.12601. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijn.12601

Bahr, T., Allred, K., Martinez, D., Rodriguez, D., & Winterton, P. (2018). Effects of a massage-like essential oil application procedure using Copaiba and Deep Blue oils in individuals with hand arthritis. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 33, 170–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.10.004

Chaibi, A., Tuchin, P. J., & Russell, M. B. (2011). Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review. The journal of headache and pain, 12(2), 127–133. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10194-011-0296-6

Crane, J. D., Ogborn, D. I., Cupido, C., Melov, S., Hubbard, A., Bourgeois, J. M., & Tarnopolsky, M. A. (2012). Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Science translational medicine, 4(119), 119ra13. https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.3002882,

Fred H. L. (2013). In good health: an opinion at best. Texas Heart Institute journal, 40(1), 13–14.

Jones, J., Higham, T. F.G., Chivall, D., Bianucci, R., Kay, G. L., Pallen, M. J., Oldfield, R., Ugliano F., Buckley S. A. (2018). A prehistoric Egyptian mummy: Evidence for an ‘embalming recipe’ and the evolution of early formative funerary treatments, Journal of Archaeological Science, 100, 191-200. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2018.07.011.

Sut, N., & Kahyaoglu-Sut, H. (2017). Effect of aromatherapy massage on pain in primary dysmenorrhea: A meta-analysis. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 27, 5–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2017.01.001

Ou, M. C., Hsu, T. F., Lai, A. C., Lin, Y. T., & Lin, C. C. (2012). Pain relief assessment by aromatic essential oil massage on outpatients with primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. The journal of obstetrics and gynaecology research, 38(5), 817–822. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0756.2011.01802.x