The hormone oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” is well known for its role in human bonding and romantic relationships, but it has other functions.
For example, oxytocin plays a key role in childbirth by inducing and amplifying uterine contractions that help push the newborn out. The high levels of oxytocin experienced here may contribute to the initial bond formed between mother and child.
Oxytocin has also been found to play a role in social bonding, not just romantic, as well as in coping with the stress response.
During this Valentine’s Day season, let’s appreciate the many roles the “love hormone” plays in daily life and in bonding with others — romantically or otherwise.
Oxytocin and Health
According to Uvnas-Moberg Et. al. (2005), some of the positive effects of oxytocin in the body include, “anti-stress-like effects such as the reduction of blood pressure and cortisol levels.”
Other benefits mentioned include increasing pain thresholds, having an anxiolytic-like effect, stimulating positive social interactions, growth and healing (Uvnas-Mober et. al., 2005).
According to Harvard Health, low levels of oxytocin have been linked to symptoms of depression. Increasing oxytocin, therefore, may ease some feelings of depression and contribute to a sense of well-being.
They mention that some of the useful ways of increasing oxytocin naturally include exercise, music, touch (like hugs and cuddling), sex, and even sending a message! These are just a few ways to “feel the love” this Valentine’s Day (Watson, 2021).
Share the Love
Whether spending time with a friend or significant other, picking the right activity or gift can lead to positive effects on health and well-being. Here are two tips on how:
Spending Money on Others
Spending money on others can help increase your self-perceived happiness. This can be something as small as paying for somebody’s coffee, buying them something they like, or even giving to charity.
According to a study by Dunn Et. al. (2008) spending money on other people as opposed to on oneself has a positive impact on happiness.
The study concluded that, “participants who were randomly assigned to spend money on others experienced greater happiness than those assigned to spend money on themselves.” So, maybe spend some money on someone you love and reap the happiness.
Spend on Experiences not Objects
Spending money on an experience, such as a road trip or a couple’s massage, may be better for your overall happiness than spending money on material objects. Creating positive memories seems to benefit well-being for longer periods of time according to Boven & Gilovich (2003).
They carried out surveys to determine whether experiences make people happier than material possessions.
It seems like the memory of experiences had positive effects on their happiness,” results indicate that the experience of remembering experiential purchases makes people happier than the experience of remembering material purchases,” they mention.
This Valentine’s Day, consider spending money on a positive experience, build a happy memory, and reap its benefits for years to come.
At Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab, we offer a range of services that can help you and your loved ones have a memorable and relaxing experience.
We offer a range of specialty massages including Swedish, deep tissue, craniosacral, shiatsu and even aromatherapy. We also offer acupuncture and cupping to help balance your energy and have you feeling your best this Valentine’s Day.
Visit or call us today to hear more about Valentine’s Day specials for you and your significant other. We are ready to share the love!
- Uvnas-Moberg K, Petersson M. Oxytocin, ein Vermittler von Antistress, Wohlbefinden, sozialer Interaktion, Wachstum und Heilung [Oxytocin, a mediator of anti-stress, well-being, social interaction, growth and healing]. Z Psychosom Med Psychother. 2005;51(1):57-80. German. doi: 10.13109/zptm.2005.51.1.57. PMID: 15834840.
- Watson, S. (2021, July 20). Oxytocin: The love hormone. Harvard Health. Retrieved February 11, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/oxytocin-the-love-hormone
- Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008, March 21). Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness. Science (New York, N.Y.). Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18356530/
- Van Boven, L., & Gilovich, T. (2003). To Do or to Have? That Is the Question. American Psychological Association. Retrieved February 14, 2022, from https://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/85/6/1193/