Our new ‘Emotional Support Dog’, Fergie was found in the American Maltese Rescue Center in LA. Fergie, a 7 year old, 5 pound, deaf dog was chosen to join our team to provide an non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical method of promoting Oxytocin release. It has been shown through brain imaging studies that oxytocin reduces the activity of brain regions that produce anxiety. But there’s more…much much more…
Paul J. Zak, the author of The Moral Molecule, states “the first important finding is that 98% of the hundreds of people I have tested release oxytocin properly when they are trusted.”
He goes on to say “the human oxytocin system motivates a desire to interact with others, and those whose brains release a spike of oxytocin reciprocate the trust they have been shown.”
A dog has such a trusting nature and only gives unconditional love that petting a dog releases oxytocin in both the dog and the human.
Research by Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg, an M.D. and Ph.D. at Uppsala University in Sweden, pioneered a study of oxytocin and its social bonding and anti-stress effects. Dr. Uvnas-Moberg’s findings suggests high levels of oxytocin, naturally occurring during breastfeeding, were linked to a mother’s increased sense of calm and desire to make social connection. She performed an experiment that showed that stroking rats 40 times a minute for 5 minutes reduced lab rats’ stress chemistry, increased their pain tolerance, and calmed them so deeply, some feel asleep.
We have found holding our little Fergie, while doing EEG Neurofeedback and Biofeedback sessions, creates a profound sense of calm and a reduction in anxiety. While I understand some people may have an aversion to dogs, I believe for the majority of us, we will respond with a happier attitude as we get our Oxytocin boost through petting our little emotional support dog, Fergie.