love

8 Major Benefits for Your Health When You Love (Depending How!)

Like anyone else, you want to be as healthy as possible. You read a little something; you find out about something else, and you try to do only what’s best for you.

You know that processed food is full of additives. You tell yourself that is best to avoid it. Just when you have switched your diet to vegetables and simple, basic products, you hear them say it’s best to buy their bio version. Not that you wouldn’t want to, but you have some existential questions when it comes to the price.

And you also found out that exercise is good for your health. Not just moving your butt out of the car to the office, but a real, actual workout. But, when do you have time to go to the gym? You barely manage to scroll all the way down to your Facebook timeline!

What would you say if I told you that there is actually something you can do to improve your health, something that costs you nothing, that doesn’t take you much time, and that it’s actually quite nice? Here is a little magic lesson…


  1. Lovemaking reduces stress

    Picnic relaxation

    In a way, this is a paradox.

    You meet someone, you like the person… But what am I saying, “like”?! You’ve fallen madly in love with the person! You want to confess him/her your feelings, but the butterflies from your stomach are that close to coming out. Rarely is something more stressful than this.

    On the other hand, do you know what’s the favorite activity of those in love? Walking in the park, of course. At least, that’s what their parents think.

    One of the best way to reduce stress is lovemaking. The reason for this is oxytocin, a substance called “the hormone of love”. This hormone has plenty of benefits for the body, but let’s talk about stress first. And let’s get this done already! (Sorry, I’m a bit stressed out because I fear I won’t finish this article on time. Honey, will you come here for a second?)

    Among many others, the oxytocin reduces the cortisol, the hormone of stress. Cortisol has it’s job – for example, it mobilizes the body so that it can cope with an urgent situation. But, it does that despite other functions of the body. It’s good on a short term, but bad for the long term. So, it’s important to get rid of the cortisol as soon as you don’t need the “mobilization” thing.

    The good news is that your body can produce oxytocin. Practically, on command (unless you are autistic). Here are some triggering actions you might like:

    • Gentle touches, caresses, kisses – when you give them, but even more when you get them. The more you enjoy them, the more oxytocin your body releases. When you do them on your own skin, the effect is weak, because the mind can sense it’s just a trick. (Maybe it’s better solo, when it comes to narcissistic people…) So, it’s best to have a partner: a boyfriend/girlfriend, a child, an animal…
    • Hugs – hugs are like touching, but more intense. Have you noticed that when you want to calm down, you would hug even a pillow? That’s an instinctive reaction. The body knows, ever since you were born, that a hug brings along only good things: comfort, security, food… And all these have to do with oxytocin. (Even the breast milk is produced under the influence of this hormone.) So don’t hesitate: when you have the chance to give a hug, give a big and warm one! Thus, you give health.
    • Arousal, orgasms – they are accompanied by a lot of oxytocin, thus they are the most powerful triggering actions of all. And if you are with your loved one and you make it right, it has the greatest effect. The downside of it is, when the amount of stress is high, the libido is low, because the stress is desperately shouting out loud: “We have important matters to deal with, we don’t have time to fool around!” The thing is that this “fooling around” thing is just the way to reduce stress. If the problems are not that urgent, the relaxation that comes after it can help you think clearer, thus resolving them faster.

    Interesting to know, oxytocin does not reduce every kind of stress. If what pressures you is predictable (meaning you know what you have to do), this hormone can relax you a great deal. But if you are not under the influence of oxytocin and there comes an unexpected problem, the situation becomes more stressful than usual 1)Oxytocin increases anxiety to unpredictable threat” – study conducted by C. Grillon, M. Krimsky, D.R. Charney, K. Vytal, M. Ernst and B. Cornwell, published in Mol Psychiatry on September 2013. (Just imagine that you are caught in an intimate circumstance, when you feel most at ease!)

    However, momentary stress is not harmful, but chronic stress is. And that’s the advantage of being in a happy relationship: all the manifestations of love interrupt chronic stress by means of hormonal variations 2)Between- and within-sex variation in hormonal responses to psychological stress in a large sample of college students” – study conducted by Dario Maestripieri, Nicole M. Baran, Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, published in Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, issue no. 5/2010.

  2. Sleeping together does good to your little heart

    The best kind of sleep

    You know very well yourself that “sleeping together” is not the same as “going to bed with someone”. Still, when it comes to people in love, the closeness in meaning of the two expressions is bigger than you think.

    When you make love, a whole biochemical machine is put into function. I’ve just told you that oxytocin is being produced. Among others, this hormone’s intervention is good for your heart’s health 3)Why Kindness Is Good for You” by David R. Hamilton, book published by Hay House in 20104)Embrace hugging: Daily cuddles can combat infections and lowers risk of heart disease” by Roger Dobson, article published in Mail on Sunday on the 10th of November 2012. Actually, oxytocin is important for your heart since you were a fetus: it contributed to its formation. When in need, it also contributes to repairing a “broken” heart (including the cases of heart attacks) 5)Why Kindness Is Good for You” by David R. Hamilton, book published by Hay House in 2010.

    But here’s what happens most of the times:

    When you are stressed, your body produces cortisol to cope with the “crisis”. If the cortisol remains present during long periods of time, the body begins to encounter physiological problems. It begins to produce cytokines, protein molecules, whose role is to cause swelling in the places where there seems to be a problem. When it comes to stress, the heart is also at risk, among other parts of the body 6)Why sharing a bed is good for the heart (even if your other half snores!)” by Anna Hodgekiss, article published in Daily Mail on the 11th of June 2012.

    So, bring in some oxytocin to break this vicious cycle! Save your poor little heart! Do it for her sake!

    Now, you are going to tell me that, given the amount of problems you have on your mind, you should do it on a daily basis. I mean, the poor little heart deserves to be saved on a daily basis, but the “fooling around” part may be too often.

    Well, if you have a more snugly nature, and you can’t do at least that much for your heart, there is a very comfortable alternative:

    Sleep together!

    Studies have shown sleeping next to someone you love is enough to raise your oxytocin level. Even if the person in question snores. You can add some hugging during sleep. Or at least, until you two fall asleep. Sleeping with another person is the reason for which happy couples live longer and have fewer heart problems 7)Why sharing a bed is good for the heart (even if your other half snores!)” by Anna Hodgekiss, article published in Daily Mail on the 11th of June 2012.

    And if you don’t have someone to sleep next to, you can hug a big plushy toy. Your age doesn’t matter. What matters is to really care about it.

    It’s not just the heart who benefits from it, but the whole circulatory system. Studies have proven that the oxytocin reduces blood pressure 8)Why sharing a bed is good for the heart (even if your other half snores!)” by Anna Hodgekiss, article published in Daily Mail on the 11th of June 2012 (it acts like a blood vessel dilator), contributes to preserving the mobility of the arteries, and helps create new blood vessels (during the growth process, as well as during the recovery of the body after injuries). All these can go way better if they are treated with love 9)Why Kindness Is Good for You” by David R. Hamilton, book published by Hay House in 2010.

  3. Loving people are less inflamed

    Ready for a fight?

    We’ve already seen how love gestures reduce stress. And a more relaxed person doesn’t get inflamed as easily easily when contradictions arise.

    But that’s not the subject I wanted to talk to you about, but the inflammations in your body.

    These are natural reactions of the body when something is not working properly. In order to block the problem, the body causes a “swelling” of the tissues in that particular area. On short-term, this is quite a useful reaction. Unless that it doesn’t always work as it should be. Sometimes, the inflammations last more than they should (some of them even become chronic). Sometimes they are even more intense than we would like (because the pressure caused by them can lead to great pains), or it may happen, when you feel like the inflammation is getting in your way, that you manage to take over the problem thanks to treatment.

    Here we go again to wonderful oxytocin. This can reduce swelling you may have. In medical terms, it is a good anti-inflammatory, but one as natural as possible.

    Have you ever noticed that after every romantic gesture you have the tendency to make you get soft? It’s not just a feeling.

    If somebody has a swelling, you can help him/her get rid of that faster – or, at least, diminish it, if it’s chronic – by administering, on a regular basis, doses of… love 10)Why Kindness Is Good for You” by David R. Hamilton, book published by Hay House in 2010.

  4. Healing love

    Hugging on the sea shore

    Many times, swelling is caused by infections; of the respiratory system, of the tonsils, of a tooth, etc. In such cases, oxytocin is of great help, reducing the nasty inflammation.

    But you must be careful; many infectious conditions are easily transmitted. If you want to help your partner with a cold by giving him/her a passionate kiss, both of you will end up with a cold.

    The effect of oxytocin is not only anti-inflammatory! If you have a generally good level of oxytocin in your body, your immune system will cope better with infections 11)Embrace hugging: Daily cuddles can combat infections and lowers risk of heart disease” by Roger Dobson, article published in Mail on Sunday on the 10th of November 2012. And that’s because the oxytocin stimulates the microbiome which you need most 12)Salubrious effects of oxytocin on social stress-induced deficits” – study conducted by Adam S. Smith and Zuoxin Wang, published in Hormones and Behavior on March 2012.

    It’s not just about the oxytocin. A study shows that partners who engage in sex at least three times a week have a much higher level of immunoglobulin than those who do it rarely or none at all 13)Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA)” – study conducted by Carl J. Charnetski and Francis X. Brennan, published in Psychological Reports on June 2004. In other words, their immune system is much stronger.

    Even wounds heal faster with love. Not only spiritual ones, but also physical ones.

    On one hand, wounds lead to inflammation, and the oxytocin helps to keep it under control.

    On the other, studies have shown that wounds heal faster if the skin’s microbiome is favourable to you. Yes, you got it right! Oxytocin stimulates some of the microscopic creatures on your dermis – the very ones that help heal the wounds 14)Microbial Symbionts Accelerate Wound Healing via the Neuropeptide Hormone Oxytocin” – study conducted by Theofilos Poutahidis, Sean M. Kearney, Tatiana Levkovich, Peimin Qi, Bernard J. Varian, Jessica R. Lakritz, Yassin M. Ibrahim, Antonis Chatzigiagkos, Eric J. Alm and Susan E. Erdman, published in PLoS ONE on the 30th of October 2013.

    Researchers have shown that in order for the body to produce a considerable level of oxytocin and other beneficial hormones it needs at least a 10-seconds hug. And for maintaining this positive effect on a longer term, it needs such a hug at least once a day 15)Embrace hugging: Daily cuddles can combat infections and lowers risk of heart disease” by Roger Dobson, article published in Mail on Sunday on the 10th of November 2012.

    But pay attention! The key is the profoundness of the hug. If it’s just a formal one, then the effect will be as such. The love you put in a hug is what does the magic.

  5. Love protects you against pains

    Comfort

    We often hear the expression “suffer from love sickness”. But, at a closer look, love is not what causes such sufferings, but the lack of it, or a hurt ego.

    Actually, love chases away pain. Not only is a spiritual pain easier to endure when you love and are loved, but it’s the same when it comes to the physical pains.

    Chronic pains can also be alleviated in the same way. (In fact, they are associated with inflammation.) According to a study, even just looking at the picture of the person you love makes it easier to bear the pain 16)Viewing Pictures of a Romantic Partner Reduces Experimental Pain: Involvement of Neural Reward Systems” – study conducted by Jarred Younger, Arthur Aron, Sara Parke, Neil Chatterjee and Sean Mackey, published in PLoS ONE on the 13th of October 2010.

    Oxytocin can be administered intravenously or by means of a nasal spray, in certain medical conditions. That’s because, in medicine, you can’t rely on somebody’s availability to love his/her patient. But, when it’s the case, love can always help heal or even make it easier to bear the pain.

    The effect of a medical dose of oxytocin lasts for a few hours 17)Intranasal oxytocin administration is reflected in human saliva” – study conducted by Omri Weisman, Orna Zagoory-Sharon and Ruth Feldman, published in Psychoneuroendocrinology on September 2012. And that’s because the oxytocin dies off in time. And this is also valid for the oxytocin produced in the human body.

    So, a hug or a caress a day is not enough. Manifestations of love must be shown all the time. It may seem like a full-time job, but it’s easier when this kind of gestures become your second nature.

  6. No headaches

    Kissing goodnight

    This has become a cliché: “Honey, not tonight, I have a migraine.”

    Yeah, it’s understandable. But it’s also a paradox.

    Several studies have shown that oxytocin is very efficient to get rid of… migraines 18)‘Love Hormone’ May Treat Daily Headaches” by Rachael Rettner, article published in LiveScience on the 20th of December 2010. Which means that all you need is a good session of lovemaking.

    Of course, doctors would never recommend you that. (Why not?!) The treatment for headaches and migraines comes in the form of nasal sprays. But if you have the natural solution close at hand, why waste money on medicines?

  7. Fall in love with better digestion

    A good spot

    Have you ever noticed that when you fall in love you tend to make a visit to the bathroom more often?

    It’s still the oxytocin, which improves the gastric mobility. In other words, digestion functions better, the food being “fretted” more intensely and pushed faster along its way. Another consequence is the diminished possibility of getting constipated 19)Why Kindness Is Good for You” by David R. Hamilton, book published by Hay House in 2010. (Could this be the reason for which single people tend to look more “constipated”?)

    Moreover, because oxytocin reduces swelling, it also alleviates the discomfort created by any irritation produced along the digestive tract.

    Have you ever noticed that when you have cramps, you tend to crouch and hold something tightly in your arms? Or that a baby with cramps is always soothed by the hug of his loving mother? There are natural ways of obtaining oxytocin. Surely, the problem could be a lot bigger than the oxytocin would able to deal with on a short term, as we would like it to. But it’s certainly helpful.

    It would be ideal not to have such digestive cramps, and one of these factors is the love in your day-to-day life.

    Digestion can be improved by physical exercises. You already know which activities stimulate the production of oxytocin. Combine them as you like.

  8. When you make love, you grow younger

    Long-lasting couple

    I’ve told you so many things about oxytocin, that you would think that it is the only hormone that has to do with love. It’s true that this is the easiest to stimulate. But there are other hormones as well.

    In fact, when you make love, your hormones are throwing a party: testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, serotonin, endorphins, and HGH 20)Sexual motivation and hormones” in Wikipedia21)Healing with Sexual Energy” by Walter Last. All this hormonal dancing has visible benefits.

    According to one study, a jury tried to guess the age of several adult women only by looking at them. The surprising fact was that the women who were considered 7-12 years younger than in reality, declared that they were having sex about 3 times a week. More close-up studies have revealed that it’s not about the intercourse itself which makes the difference, but the full array of emotions which are triggered by it; during this activity the hormones do their job best. Sex with random partners actually has negative effects 22)Frequent Sex May Help You Look Younger” – article published in PreventDisease.

    Dr. David Weeks, who has studied his entire life the beneficial effects of the sexual intercourse in a relationship, encourages, especially those who are in their middle age, to continue what they did during their youth. The reason? This is the best way to maintain your health 23)The benefits of sexual activity in later life” – article published by The British Psychological Society on the 5th of July 2013. You couldn’t find a more pleasant treatment!

The list of the benefits could go on and on.

Generally speaking, people believe that love is a pure spiritual thing. But, as you can very well see, we have love in our flesh. The body yearns for love, because it improves its functioning; because it breathes life.

We say that love is a feeling. But a feeling doesn’t mean anything for others if you don’t show it on the outside.

Love is, par excellence, a feeling which must be shown. So don’t just love, show it! And not only once in awhile, but day after day.

Who have you caressed today?

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Article written exclusively for Miratico by Lucian Velea
Lucian Velea is the founder of Miratico and many other online projects.

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References   [ + ]

1. Oxytocin increases anxiety to unpredictable threat” – study conducted by C. Grillon, M. Krimsky, D.R. Charney, K. Vytal, M. Ernst and B. Cornwell, published in Mol Psychiatry on September 2013
2. Between- and within-sex variation in hormonal responses to psychological stress in a large sample of college students” – study conducted by Dario Maestripieri, Nicole M. Baran, Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, published in Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, issue no. 5/2010
3, 5, 9, 10, 19. Why Kindness Is Good for You” by David R. Hamilton, book published by Hay House in 2010
4, 11, 15. Embrace hugging: Daily cuddles can combat infections and lowers risk of heart disease” by Roger Dobson, article published in Mail on Sunday on the 10th of November 2012
6, 7, 8. Why sharing a bed is good for the heart (even if your other half snores!)” by Anna Hodgekiss, article published in Daily Mail on the 11th of June 2012
12. Salubrious effects of oxytocin on social stress-induced deficits” – study conducted by Adam S. Smith and Zuoxin Wang, published in Hormones and Behavior on March 2012
13. Sexual frequency and salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA)” – study conducted by Carl J. Charnetski and Francis X. Brennan, published in Psychological Reports on June 2004
14. Microbial Symbionts Accelerate Wound Healing via the Neuropeptide Hormone Oxytocin” – study conducted by Theofilos Poutahidis, Sean M. Kearney, Tatiana Levkovich, Peimin Qi, Bernard J. Varian, Jessica R. Lakritz, Yassin M. Ibrahim, Antonis Chatzigiagkos, Eric J. Alm and Susan E. Erdman, published in PLoS ONE on the 30th of October 2013
16. Viewing Pictures of a Romantic Partner Reduces Experimental Pain: Involvement of Neural Reward Systems” – study conducted by Jarred Younger, Arthur Aron, Sara Parke, Neil Chatterjee and Sean Mackey, published in PLoS ONE on the 13th of October 2010
17. Intranasal oxytocin administration is reflected in human saliva” – study conducted by Omri Weisman, Orna Zagoory-Sharon and Ruth Feldman, published in Psychoneuroendocrinology on September 2012
18. ‘Love Hormone’ May Treat Daily Headaches” by Rachael Rettner, article published in LiveScience on the 20th of December 2010
20. Sexual motivation and hormones” in Wikipedia
21. Healing with Sexual Energy” by Walter Last
22. Frequent Sex May Help You Look Younger” – article published in PreventDisease
23. The benefits of sexual activity in later life” – article published by The British Psychological Society on the 5th of July 2013

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