Published: Tuesday 07 February 2023
St Valentine’s Day is coming up and we love it as an excuse to sing the praises of oxytocin - often dubbed the ‘drug of love’ or ‘hormone of cuddles’ - and how it relates to infant massage, baby yoga, baby reflexology and our unique Calmer Stories course.
Did you know?
- Oxytocin is naturally produced by the hypothalamus in response to stimuli - one being skin-to-skin contact. It is then released in both baby and parents.
- It is associated with the ability to mediate emotional experiences.
- It interacts with dopamine (a neurotransmitter that transmits signals between the nerve cells of the brain), which is important in learning, behaviour, well-being, attention and motivation.
- Other mammals can also have increased levels of oxytocin, which can result in more nest building, pup retrieval, offspring acceptance and adult pair-bonds.
- Oxytocin initiates a series of events that lead to the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain reliever and feel-good hormones.
- Oxytocin is also often associated with the let down reflex in breast feeding.
So how does this relate to infant massage, baby yoga, baby reflexology and Calmer Stories?
Of course, there is lots of skin-to-skin contact in infant massage, baby yoga and baby reflexology which, if you look back at our first point, helps stimulate the hypothalamus part of the brain to produce lots of lovely oxytocin. Even when using the Calmer Stories approach - when massage is generally done over clothing, rather than on skin - comforting touch is key. In all of these cases, oxytocin should be in both baby or child and the parent or carer, and results in relaxation and happiness all round!
There are countless benefits to enjoying baby massage, baby yoga, baby reflexology and Calmer Stories, both for thebaby/child and the parent or carer. If you’d like to learn to teach infant massage, baby yoga, baby reflexology or Calmer Stories, we have instructor courses available.
For slightly older children we also offer toddler / preschool yoga instructor courses, again as an in-person, Zoom and distance learning option.
If you're a parent, looking to try baby massage yourself at home, take a look at our Online Baby Massage course.