Researchers have discovered that oxytocin — a hormone associated with expression, touch, hugging, maternal nurturing, social attachments, childbirth and sex — is also indispensable for healthy muscle maintenance and repair.

After a serious injection of human-produced oxytocin, personally I have a feeling of repatriation since this Fourth of July weekend. Magic happened after all those fireworks and with it came this feeling of renewed openness to loving this writing (and even filling out a bit more legal paperwork).

IMG_4296Personally and professionally there are these legal applications, business models, staging and plans. I am building from “the ground floor” and there is no where to go, but up. This floor is also often part of a bed:room.

I filtered through all the beautiful things here and that I could do with this life, then found a need for more love in “mine“. This Birdanity publication is “that” story and honestly, the agreements I made here created this miracle of a brain (and that of partners brains even).

Developing these partnerships and Bird mind has also become a Birdanity business plan and document with a PO Box and a physical address even. It’s even those “old” parts that I never want to see again. Drafts and “remainders” (as artists call them) sit in the background of my time, close to the trash bin. There are thousands of old stories that you don’t see here anymore, thousands of pieces of art that I named:

621B1C12-7546-4303-B731-FBBFCBA3792CMatthew – the EX “SALES GUY”
Mark – the EX “PASTOR”
Luke – the EX “ACCOUNTANT”
John – the EX: “BAPTISER”

These “men” were the “biggest assholes” of the last several months our Bible time and that’s not even their “real” names. All those men and their gender-specific training have become the very essence of this life’s work. Every day since 2013, I described and published what I did and even what I am willing to do to find a neutral book around here.

It’s also about what I did as a professor to a lot of executive professionals in the past. A certified adult educator since 2013, there is a great story to tell about how I am a really phenomenal teacher sometimes. Even when that doesn’t seem like the best legal case to bet on. I’ll sit at the table again with you and only blink like this cursor does when I write…


Write, as a teacher today I focus this life’s work on one simple word and a chemical equation called oxytocin.


OXYTOCIN = +/- = induced by,

  • touch,
  • hugging,
  • singing,
  • laughter,
  • meditation,
  • writing,
  • community and last but perhaps part of all of the least of these
  • ART!…


Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the brain’s base. It’s sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially. Even playing with your dog can cause an oxytocin surge, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior.

Oxytocin can also intensify memories of bonding gone bad, such as in cases where men have poor relationships with their mothers. It can also make people less accepting of people they see as outsiders. In other words, whether oxytocin makes you feel cuddly or suspicious of others depends on the environment and your feelings in that space.

IMG_5314Oxytocin in feminine

Oxytocin is a particularly important hormone for women. “Oxytocin is a peptide produced in the brain that was first recognized for its role in the birth process, and also in nursing,” said Larry Young, a behavioral neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

The hormone causes uterine contractions during labor and helps shrink the uterus after delivery. When an infant suckles at his or her mother’s breast, the stimulation causes a release of oxytocin, which, in turn, orders the body to “let down” milk for the baby to drink.

Oxytocin also promotes mother-child bonding. Studies show that “female rats find pups to be aversive if [the females are] virgins,” Young told Live Science. “But once they give birth, the brain is transformed, so they find the pups irresistible,” he said. And similar findings are seen in humans.

A 2007 study published in the journal Psychological Science found that the higher a mom’s oxytocin levels in the first trimester of pregnancy, the more likely she was to engage in bonding behaviors such as singing to or bathing her baby.

Although maternal bonding may not always be hardwired — after all, human females can adopt babies and take care of them — oxytocin released during pregnancy “does seem to have a role in motivation and feelings of connectedness to a baby,” Young said. Studies also show that interacting with a baby causes the infant’s own oxytocin levels to increase, he added.

img_5948Oxytocin in masculine

In men, as in women, oxytocin facilitates bonding. Dads who got a boost of oxytocin via a nasal spray played more closely with their 5-month-old babies than dads who didn’t get the hormone zap, a 2012 study found. There is also another hormone called vasopressin that plays a role in men.

Another study found that men in relationships given a burst of oxytocin spray stood farther away from an attractive woman than men who weren’t given any oxytocin. Single men didn’t see any effect from the hormone, suggesting oxytocin may work as a fidelity booster for guys who are already bonded with another woman.

This anti-social effect of a social hormone brings some nuance to the story of oxytocin. In one study, researchers found that Dutch students given a snort of the hormone became more positive about fictional Dutch characters, but were more negative about characters with Arab or German names. Researchers also reported in January 2011 in the journal PNAS that oxytocin’s social bonding effects are targeted at whomever a person perceives as part of their in-group or their “family”.


In another study, published in PNAS in 2010, men were given a dose of oxytocin and asked to write about their mothers. Those with secure relationships described their moms as more caring after the hormone dose. Those with troubled relationships actually saw their mothers as less caring. The hormone may help with the formation of social memories, according to the study researchers, so a whiff strengthens previous associations, whether good or bad.

“My view of what oxytocin is doing in the brain is making social information more salient,” Young said. “It connects brain areas involved in processing social information — whether it’s sights, faces, sounds or smells — and helps link those areas to the brain’s reward system.”

Additional resources

American Psychological Association: The Two Faces of Oxytocin
University of California Berkeley: ‘Trust Hormone’ Oxytocin Helps Old Muscle Work Like New, Study Finds

The healthy muscle tissue on the left is from a young mouse. The ability of muscle to repair itself decreases with age, as evidenced by the middle image of old muscle tissue, which shows a lower density of muscle fibers, increased scar tissue and inflammation. The addition of oxytocin to the blood of old mice rapidly rejuvenates the old muscle, as shown on the right. (Photos by Wendy Cousin and Christian Elabd, UC Berkeley)

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