We all know the main parts of our body. But what about the smaller stuff working together to make you, you? Starting with the Pituitary Gland and its most famous resident Oxytocin. Oxytocin is also known as the hug hormone, cuddle chemical and moral molecule.
The Pituitary Gland is the Master Gland of our Endocrine System. This pea-sized gland is found at the base of our brain and consists of two parts. The Anterior Pituitary and the Posterior Pituitary. The Posterior Pituitary is an extension of our hypothalamus and secretes our internal love drug, Oxytocin.
Oxytocin is easy
If you hug another person or even just shake their hand Oxytocin will be released by both of you every time you touch and its effects will often linger. It helps us bond, increases trust and reduces fear.
Oxytocin keeps us healthy
The University of North Carolina has been researching women who have plenty of hugs a day from people they care about. They concluded lower heart rates, lower blood pressure and higher levels of oxytocin in their systems.
“Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keeps you healthy…”
Oxytocin gets us together
Oxytocin also creates desire. From just gazing at each other to sexual arousal, it’s levels skyrocket when we’re excited. It helps couples form an attachment, get intimate, fall in love and conceive the next generation.
Oxytocin makes us parents
Also known as the love, labour and lactation hormone, oxytocin is present in pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. It initiates the first stage of contractions and stimulates the final series of muscular contractions for the big push at the end. After the birth, the high levels of oxytocin promote affection, attachment and a desire in the mother to love, protect and guard her baby. It then stimulates the let-down reflex for milk.
Oxytocin paves the way for us to make friends, find love, fall pregnant, give birth and stay healthy. It’s our friendly hormone for life.
The reflexology bit
The Pituitary Gland (home of Oxytocin) is on both feet within the brain reflex. It’s positioned roughly in the centre of the fleshy padded area of your big toes or the fleshy padded area of your thumbs. The Pituitary Gland heads up your Endocrine System and is often referred to as the Master Gland as it controls several hormone-releasing glands such as the ovaries, adrenals and testes.
The Anterior Pituitary produces hormones that regulate a wide range of our body’s activities, from growth to reproduction. There are 7 hormones, all governed by the Hypothalamus, secreted by the Anterior Pituitary:
- Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) stimulates the Adrenals to produce Cortisol. Cortisol controls our metabolism, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and also acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates egg and sperm production in our ovaries and testes.
- Growth hormone promotes growth in children. In adults, instead of growth it maintains our normal body structure and metabolism. It is released into our bodies every 3-5 hours in bursts.
- Luteinising hormone regulates the function of our testes and ovaries.
- Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) is increased by exposure to UV rays and controls our appetite.
- Prolactin is mostly known for stimulating milk production. It also has more than 300 functions in the body covering reproductive, metabolic, regulation of fluids, regulation of the immune system and behavioural functions.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) controls the two main thyroid hormones essential for: metabolic rate, heart and digestive functions, muscle control, brain development and maintenance of our bones.
As well as Oxytocin, the Posterior Pituitary produces the anti-diuretic hormone that controls our water balance and blood pressure.
A-Z of some common conditions
Reflexology treats the body as a whole and helps to sustain a natural equilibrium. All the reflex points are stimulated during a treatment. Specific reflexes are then concentrated on depending on what is needed. Stimulating the Pituitary Gland can help the following:
Acne, Anorexia, Arthritis, Asthma, Bronchitis, Cystitis, Depression, Diabetes, Eczema, Goitre (swelling of thyroid gland) Gout, Hepatitis, Incontinence, Infertility, Kidney stones, Meniere’s disease (condition of the inner ear) Menopause, Menstrual issues, Migraine, Nephritis (inflammation of kidneys) Pregnancy, Pre-menstrual tension, Tension, Thyroid imbalance, Tonsillitis.
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