Oxytocin and Massage Therapy


There are a number of reasons why getting a massage feels so great, both during and after the treatment. One of these reasons is completely chemical, and it all comes down to something commonly known as ‘the love hormone’ – oxytocin. Read on to find out more about this hormone, how it affects us, and how it’s linked to massage.

What is oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone that’s produced in the brain and secreted by the pituitary gland. Its primary roles are related to reproduction, childbirth, and breastfeeding. A number of things can trigger the release of oxytocin. For example, when uterine contractions begin during childbirth, oxytocin is released to increase or maintain contractions to assist with labor.

How does it affect us?

Other than the above examples, oxytocin is thought to affect us when it comes to love, bonding, and social interaction. Whether with friends, romantic partners, or your children, the release of oxytocin when we hug or cuddle has been found to increase bonding and trust. It also helps you feel more relaxed, can reduce stress and anxiety, and can increase tolerance to pain, essentially acting as a form of pain relief.

Oxytocin is particularly important in establishing the strong emotional bond between a mother and her newborn child. It also plays an important role in strengthening the bond between romantic partners and is released during sexual activity.

Massage and oxytocin

One of the reasons why oxytocin is released when we cuddle is due to the skin-on-skin contact. But can other forms of touch have the same effect? Yes, the touch of massage has also been found to increase the production and release of oxytocin in the brain, of the person giving the massage as well as the one receiving it.

This increase in oxytocin can explain some of the good feelings associated with massage, including:

  • Relaxation
  • Stress and anxiety relief
  • Decreased pain sensation
  • Elevated mood

If you’re feeling low, then a massage could be exactly what you need to improve your mood. It can even help to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. From our understanding of oxytocin, we can see that these beneficial effects of massage are at least partly due to chemical changes in our bodies. It’s one of the reasons why getting a couple’s massage is so great for strengthening your relationship.

If you want to book a massage appointment for yourself or a loved one around Winston Salem, Pfafftown, Lewisville, and Clemmons, then contact Moonstone Massage or use our online booking portal to schedule your appointment.