cover image The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love, and Healing

The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love, and Healing

Kerstin Uvnas Moberg, Author, Roberta Francis, Translator, Airi Iliste, Illustrator Merloyd Lawrence Books $34.95 (205p) ISBN 978-0-7382-0748-3

Swedish medical doctor and physiologist Moberg persuades readers to cultivate the pleasurable moments of life--when our bodies produce the hormone oxytocin, the""ready-made healing nectar"" she asserts is responsible for inducing peace, growth and bonding. As the ying to the better-known yang adrenaline, which triggers feelings of stress and defense, oxytocin increases""social memory"" (like a mother's recognition of her child), she says, inspires serenity, spurs physical growth and healing, lowers blood pressure and regulates digestion. In simple, flowing prose ably translated by Francis, Moberg argues that both hormones are equally necessary parts of a balanced, healthy physiological system. She explains how oxytocin works to inspire""calm and connection,"" and explores the various physical and mental routes to activate it: massage, sex, meditation and prayer, medication, alcohol and food--some of which obviously carry other health risks if overused. While Moberg admits that her assumptions are largely based on piecemeal evidence from experiments and observations of animals and humans, she provides a clear, lay introduction to a little-known hormone and a convincing case for further studies.