Oxytocin and Our Need For Touch

April 11, 2012 Oxytocin And Adoption, Uncategorized Comments Off

By Thea Blair

I first noticed how effective touch was in resolving children’s conflicts and emotional issues during the 14 years I taught a mixed age pre-school in my home. It began as a way to manage the behavior of toddlers who just could not get along with their peers or were having a “melt-down.” My intuition told me that they were out of their skill range: they were overwhelmed or over-stimulated. I would hold them over my heart as if they were infants and discovered this was much more effective than any form of “time out.” Later, I saw miraculous results using other forms of gentle touch with older children, too. I began experimenting with either comforting or playful touch. Sometimes I would put a hand on the shoulders of two children having a conflict, sometimes I would hold a child who was sad or angry. Sometimes I would offer them imaginative back massage stories or bounce them on my knee. It was during this time that I began to adapt verses and songs into massage routines. I was amazed at the results: my caring touch was resolving difficult situations much faster and easier than verbal communication alone.

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Oxytocin AND Generosity

April 9, 2012 Oxytocin In The News Comments Off

One of the most puzzling conundrums about the human race is that we, unlike many other animal species, can be moved to acts of generosity towards others, often complete strangers and more often than not at a cost to ourselves. There are many examples – helping someone with a difficult problem and diverting our energy and attention away from our own task describes it more prosaically.  You see someone fall and the immediate reaction is to rush to his or her aid – why? Well the exact reasons seem to be shrouded in the mystery that is the human psyche but a recent paper  (2007) by some Californian academics is that a little known (to the public at large that is) hormone called oxytocin may be at the root of it.

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