Hugs and physical touch release the hormone Oxytocin. This wonderful hormone is shown to reduce blood pressure, slow the heart rate and provide an overall feeling of relaxation. Weighted blankets can trigger this same response by imitating the deep sense of touch. Some research has shown a relationship between increased Oxytocin levels and lessening of autism spectrum negative symptoms 1
In a 2003 study, both humans and dog oxytocin levels in the blood rose after five to 24 minutes of a petting session.2
Oxytocin modulates fear and anxiety.3
- 1 Jacob S, Brune CW, Carter CS, Leventhal BL, Lord C, Cook EH (April 2007). "Association of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) in Caucasian children and adolescents with autism"
- 2 Kuchinskas Susan, The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy, and Love p65
- 3 Guzmán YF, Tronson NC, Jovasevic V, Sato K, Guedea AL, Mizukami H, Nishimori K, Radulovic J (September 2013). "Fear-enhancing effects of septal oxytocin receptors". Nature Neuroscience. 16 (9): 1185–7