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Oxytocin: Go Out and Touch Someone

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 1:12 AM Comments comments (173)

What is Reiki? Gentle, healing and loving touch. According to this article it could be  capable of stimulating oxytocin. I believe that this is why after Reiki session people feel relaxed,  peaceful and more in harmony with themselves and the world.
If you want to learn more about Reiki and how Reiki can help you

By Emiliya Zhivotovskaya on March 23, 2012 – 10:50 am 

Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, MAPP '07, is the founder of Flourish, an organization dedicated to using research based tools to enable individuals and organizations to flourish. Emiliya fuses the best of Eastern philosophy with Western science to provide people with holistic tools to increase their happiness, well-being, and sense of flourishing. Full bio. Emiliya's articles are here.

Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts as a hormone. Often considered a major player in the regulation of trust and morality, its study is revealing fascinating information about human behavior and relationships. Oxytocin is released in the body when we feel safe and connected and tells the brain, “Everything is all right.” Dr. Paul Zak has determined that the human brain naturally produces oxytocin during breast-feeding, orgasm, hugs, snuggling, holding hands, partner dance, massage, bodywork, and prayer.

Humans have evolved as hyper-social creatures. Oxytocin helps us navigate our world of complex social relationships by rewarding positive social behavior with feelings of contentment and relaxation. As discovered by Zak and Theodoridou, oxytocin thus motivates a variety of pro-social behaviors such as generosity, compassion, and forgiveness. In other words, its presence in the brain helps us to trust and bond with strangers.

Oxytocin and Trust

This finding is related to another study orchestrated by Zak, in which he found that oxytocin increases a person’s likelihood to trust strangers and to give them money. In this study, participants were asked to give away a portion of $10 they had been given by researchers. The researchers found that participants who had been dosed with oxytocin were 80% more generous than control group participants. Participants in the oxytocin condition were more trusting of the strangers they encountered.

Oxytocin and Relationships

Ditzen and colleagues designed a study using couples and found that those treated with synthetic oxytocin had far lower stress levels. Participating couples were asked to discuss a topic that was stressful and had consistently triggered conflict between them in the past. Then, researchers measured the presence of stress hormones within their bodies. They found that oxytocin improved positive communication between couples and was also related to a decrease in the presence of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress and with our flight-or-fight reflex. According to Grewen, partners with higher naturally occurring oxytocin rates also score higher on measures of partner support.

Learning about oxytocin has given me insight into my interactions with other people. One of my friends often jokes about my poor taste in men. When we are out together and I point out someone mildly attractive or “cute,” she always disagrees and voices how unappealing he is to her. We also have very different personalities. Where I am very affectionate with people I am close to, she is more reserved. Research by Theodoridou and colleagues showed that participants who were given synthetic oxytocin were more likely to perceive strangers as attractive and trustworthy when compared to control participants not dosed with oxytocin. I often wonder if the differences in personality and dating preferences between us may be governed by differences in the levels of oxytocin pumping through our bodies.
Oxytocin and Memories

One of my favorite oxytocin studies shows that this cuddle hormone affects our ability to encode and recall memories. Guastella and colleagues conducted a study on volunteers and the role of oxytocin in recalling faces with happy, angry, or neutral facial expressions. Previous research by Vuilleumier had shown that human beings have a bias towards recognizing negative facial expressions more than neutral or positive ones, and Surguladze had found a dramatic increase of this effect in populations of depressed people.

Guastella’s research showed that people who received oxytocin countered this tendency and were more likely to recognize and recall happy faces. This result shows that oxytocin can impact how we perceive the world and might allow us to recognize and appreciate positive thoughts and experiences that we normally overlook.

So What Does This Mean to Us?

How can we take greater advantage of naturally occurring oxytocin and maximize its release in our own bodies? Oxytocin is found only in mammals and needs stimulation to be released. According to Wellsphere, studies have revealed that the use of social media can facilitate the release of oxytocin and that even thinking about someone who loves you or someone you deeply care for is enough to activate the release of oxytocin.

However, physical touch stimulates the most potent release of oxytocin. In a TED Talk, Dr. Zak
prescribes at least 8 hugs per day to feel happier and more connected, as well as to nurture relationships. According to Zak, research into relationships has shown that higher oxytocin levels are associated with improved heart health, especially in women. Furthermore, after only 20 seconds of hugging a romantic partner, one can achieve a spike in oxytocin levels, as well as a decrease in blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels. So do yourself a favor—go hug someone!

Barraza, J. A., McCullough, M. E., Ahmadi, S. & Zak, P. J. (2011). Oxytocin infusion increases charitable donations regardless of monetary resources. Hormones and Behavior, 60(2), 148-151. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.04.008
Ditzen, B. et al. (2009). Intranasal Oxytocin Increases Positive Communication and Reduces Cortisol Levels During Couple Conflict. Biological Psychiatry, 65, 728-73. Abstract.
Grewen, K. M., Girdler, S. S., Amico, J. & Light, K. C. (2005). Effects of partner support on resting oxytocin, cortisol, norepinephrine, and blood pressure before and after warm partner contact. Psychosomatic Medicine, 67(4), 531-538. Abstract.
Guastella, A. J., Mitchell, P. B. & Mathews, F. (2008) Oxytocin Enhances the Encoding of Positive Social Memories in Humans. Biological Psychiatry, 64(3), 256–258. Abstract.
Light K. C., Grewen, K. M. & Amico, J. A. (2005). More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. Biological Psychology, 69(1), 5-21. Epub 2004 Dec 29. Abstract.
Mikolajczaka, M., Pinonb, N., Lanea, A., de Timaryc, P. & Lumineta, O. (2010). Oxytocin not only increases trust when money is at stake, but also when confidential information is in the balance. Biological Psychology, 85, 1, 182–184. Abstract.
Surguladze S. A., Young, A. W., Senior, C., Brébion, G., Travis, M. J. & Phillips, M. L. (2004). Recognition accuracy and response bias to happy and sad facial expressions in patients with major depression. Neuropsychology.;18(2):212-8.
Theodoridou, A., Rowe, I., Penton-Voak, I., Rogers, P. (2009). Oxytocin and social perception: Oxytocin increases perceived facial trustworthiness and attractiveness. Hormones and Behavior, 56,1, 128–132.
Vuilleumier, P. (2002). Facial expression and selective attention. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 15:291-30.
Wellsphere 2010: ssssssa
Zak P. J., Stanton, A. A. & Ahmadi, S. (2007) Oxytocin Increases Generosity in Humans. PLoS ONE 2(11): e1128. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001128
Zak, P. J. (2008). The Neurobiology of Trust. Scientific American.
Zak, P. J. (2011). Trust, Morality – and Oxytocin. TED Talk.

Phone :       212- F-L-O-U-R-I-S-H

Spring has Sprung

Posted on March 24, 2013 at 3:44 AM Comments comments (118)

Let Reiki support your personal inner spring cleaning. Join us for an evening of Reiki Meditation and Healing Practice at Los Altos Reiki Center on Wednesday, March 27th,     7 pm – 9 pm.
(Special Reiki Share for Practitioners and Students of Reiki)
Donation is appreciated. Space is limited.
Call Larisa 650-532-3454 or Linda 650-862-2425 to reserve your spot.

It is our intent that all may share in the peace, love and joy that we experience as Reiki energy flows inside us throughout us, and around us.

Reiki Masters, Larisa Vladimirova and Linda Alderman have practiced Reiki together in Santa Clara And San Mateo counties for several years. In 2013 they opened a new healing center in Los Altos where they provide healing sessions, Reiki training classes. Reiki practice sessions for students and practitioners. And group healing circles. Their healing sessions aim to facilitate health, balance, and peace in people's lives.

Please ”like us” at and“join” our FB page so we can keep you aware of our upcoming events and future health and wellness programs.

Los Altos Reiki Center,
745 Distel Drive, Suite #121,
Los Altos, CA 94022

Larisa (650) 532-3454    
Linda (650) 862-2425  

Welcome to our website.

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 11:58 PM Comments comments (10)
As Reiki Practitioners, we intend that the Los Altos Reiki Center be a place where we can assist individual clients to explore and discover their body’s own natural healing abilities during their Reiki treatments.

As Reiki Teachers, we intend to provide high quality Reiki certification training classes. We also intend to offer classes in other complementary healing modalities to encourage integrative health and wellness self-care programs for all members of the community.

As Reiki community members, we intend to offer educational outreach programs in our local communities to inform the people about the benefits and uses of Reiki for health and wellness.

Please like us on Facebook and we will keep you aware of our upcoming events and future health and wellness programs.

We are grateful to our family members, teachers, students and fellow Reiki practitioners who inspire and support our Reiki journey. We look forward to sharing the Reiki Way with you.

We invite you to join us at our Open House from 1 pm to 3 pm on Saturday, February 16.

Linda and Larisa