The brain releases endorphins during childbirth

Oxytocin: what does the cuddle hormone do to your body?

Oxytocin is known as the cuddle hormone and attachment hormone. It increases your well-being and strengthens interpersonal relationships. Find out here how the messenger substance works and what options you have to increase your oxytocin level.

What is oxytocin?

If a person you trust gently strokes your skin or if you cuddle your dog, a feeling of comfort will spread within you. That is responsible for that The cuddle hormone oxytocin. The endogenous messenger substance, Consists of nine amino acids, is released in the brain: The hypothalamus takes over the production, while the pituitary gland (pituitary gland) releases the active substance. Oxytocin acts as a neurotransmitter directly in the brain; as a hormone, it enters the body via the bloodstream.

Oxytocin plays a central role in that Developing interpersonal relationships. It is not without reason that it is called Attachment hormone designated. As such, it strengthens trust in partnerships and sexual arousal.

Oxytocin has the most important function as Mother-child hormone: The active ingredient triggers labor at birth and ensures that the milk comes in. It is therefore also used to support obstetrics in the medical environment. In addition, oxytocin is responsible for the close bond between the mother and her offspring.

Has another function Oxytocin in coping with stress. The hormone regulates blood pressure and the level of cortisol. Cortisol is known as a stress hormone. Overproduction or chronic release can lead to health problems. Oxytocin can counteract this and relax.

Oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine: an overview of happiness hormones

In addition to oxytocin, there are other hormones that work together to ensure our well-being. These are the most important happiness makers and their effects (1):

OxytocinCuddle hormoneincreases the feeling of trust and attachment, reduces stress
SerotoninHappiness hormoneimproves mood, reduces feelings of anxiety
DopamineDrive hormonestrengthens the inner drive and motivation
Adrenaline and norepinephrineCourage hormonesensure short-term, positive stress, increase concentration and the willingness to act
EndorphinsEnergy hormonesinhibit the perception of pain, strengthen motivation
PhenylethylamineLove hormoneincreases the feeling of pleasure and the feeling of being in love


What does oxytocin do in the body?

Oxytocin has various effects in the body. Most of them trigger positive feelings - even if only for a short time. Because the Half-life of oxytocin is 4 to 10 minutes. That means, within a few minutes, the original amount of hormones is reduced by half. The pleasant effect wears off again comparatively quickly.

It is not without reason that oxytocin is called the cuddle hormone or attachment hormone. It spoils you with the good feeling after a friendly hug or during sex.

Triggered by pleasant sensory perceptions, the brain releases the messenger substance. Oxytocin acts as a neurotransmitter via the central nervous system. You will be demonstrable more receptive to interpersonal contact and builds trust more quickly. Thanks to oxytocin, you're going to cuddle up. (2)

During sex, especially during orgasm, a larger amount of oxytocin is released, which increases the pleasant feeling.

also makes oxytocin more relaxed and self-confident. The reason: the active ingredient inhibits the production of the stress hormone cortisol and at the same time activates the reward system. You are more likely to relax and feel comfortable even in front of strangers. (3)

As a hormone, oxytocin plays one important role around childbirth. Among other things, it triggers labor and ensures the so-called milk injection. Men also benefit from oxytocin: the hormone can have a positive impact on their health fertility to have. (4)

Studies have shown that chronic oxytocin deficiency can be a cause of obesity. The hormone plays an important role in Fat burning and, together with other messenger substances, ensures that you feel more full. Researchers therefore suggest that oxytocin may help you lose weight. (5)

A less relevant effect of oxytocin is its influence on the amount of urine. However, since oxytocin is rapidly broken down in the body, this effect is of little importance.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Oxytocin

There is a reason why oxytocin is associated with wellbeing. The positive properties of the bonding and cuddling hormone are:

  1. Reduction of stress
  2. Activation of the reward system
  3. Strengthening empathy and trust
  4. Strengthening belonging
  5. Support during childbirth and breastfeeding
  6. Strengthening the mother-child relationship
  7. Promoting fertility in men

On the other hand, there are the negative sides of oxytocin: Studies have shown that a high oxytocin level does Sense of rivalry can promote. Test persons felt they belonged to their assigned group more strongly and defended them vehemently against outsiders. The downside of pleasant familiarity is therefore exclusion. Researchers see an explanation for this excessive loyalty in the fact that oxytocin is responsible for the close bond between mother and child. The rivalry could therefore result from the protective instinct. (6)

How can you increase oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a consequence pleasant sensory perceptions released. If you want to feel better, you can easily trick your brain. Here is a list of things that will get you on the cuddle path:

  1. Hugs
  2. Cuddling
  3. sex
  4. Pet animals
  5. Delicious meal
  6. Pleasant music
  7. Exchange with loved ones
  8. Make heart gifts
  9. Distribute compliments
  10. Selfcare routines
  11. meditation
  12. bathtub
  13. sauna
  14. Massages

Ultimately, it's very simple: Do more things that you love - the feeling of wellbeing then comes all by itself.

Our tip: Eating a healthy, balanced diet is key to your wellbeing. Provide your body with the optimal amount of nutrients every day. For example, ours will help you Daily Vitamins.


  • Oxytocin is known as the cuddle hormone, attachment hormone, and mother-child hormone.
  • In addition to other messenger substances, oxytocin is one of the happiness hormones, as it increases our well-being.
  • Oxytocin acts as a neurotransmitter directly in the brain and triggers a positive sensation.
  • The hormone oxytocin mainly plays a role before, during and after childbirth.
  • Triggered by pleasant sensory perceptions, the effect of oxytocin unfolds: It reduces stress, activates the reward system and thus ensures well-being.
  • Oxytocin can strengthen and relax interpersonal trust and empathy as well as increase self-confidence.
  • Excess oxytocin can create rivalries and marginalization.
  • The oxytocin level can be increased by doing things that stimulate different senses and that are perceived as pleasant.
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