Have you heard about oxytocin? Oxytocin is a neuropeptide produced mainly in the thalamus and released from the pituitary gland. A good dose of oxytocin has analgesic properties. There are scientific studies that suggest that enhanced oxytocin levels may decrease pain via improving mood, decreasing stress, enhancing calmness and lowering cortisol levels.
Your brain makes this great juice and it’s freely available to you. They call it the ‘love drug’ or the ‘hug drug’. You make it in your brain, it enters your blood, calms you down, de-stresses you, makes you happier, less anxious, less grumpy, settles turbulent guts, makes blisters heal faster and can ease pain too. There are plenty of ways to encourage your body to produce more – having a baby and lactating may help, but if that is not available, cuddle someone you love, sing and dance together or have a photo of someone you love on your desk. Nothing wrong with a lovey-dovey movie either. If you can train your dog to gaze into your eyes, oxytocin increases. Gaze back and your dog will get some oxytocin too.
Adapted from Explain Pain Supercharged (2017), Lorimer Moseley & David Butler