Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oxytocin

I thought I knew all the basic stuff about oxytocin and its role in human sex, parturition, lactation, and pair bonding. But I have just found out that you can raise your oxytocin levels by interacting with your dog--especially by gazing into your dog's eyes lovingly and lingeringly . Patricia McConnell, who wrote The Other End of the Leash does a good job of summarizing the research here .

Last night I was watching one of those Nature shows about how wolves evolved into pugs and borzois, all in the service of man, and it was stated that the repeated stroking of a dog raises the dog's oxytocin, as well as the owner's. I'm sure the same principle applies to cats, and probably ferrets, but I'm not so sure about turtles and snakes.

Aren't we lucky to live in a scientific age? For eons we've known that hugging babies makes us and the babies happy, that petting dogs makes us feel calm and contented. And now, thanks to scientific research, we are reassured that those warm and fuzzy feelings were real, after all, since they are caused by the rising levels of a certain hormone.

It's good to know that all this time we haven't just been imagining things.

2 comments :

  1. I think I could justify charging extra for the clients who want to pet Theo in session.

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  2. Alison, maybe you could measure their oxytocin levels and charge on a sliding scale.

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