Archive for 03. 2020

Martial arts increase oxytocin production

Yuri Rassovsky, Anna Harwood, Orna Zagoory-Sharon & Ruth Feldman

Scientific reports. Nature. – 2019

Numerous studies have demonstrated that oxytocin (OT), a peptide hormone, plays an important role in regulating mammalian social behaviors, linking it to social affiliation in parent-infant attachment,
romantic and filial relationships, and other prosocial behaviors, such as trust and cooperation. Not surprisingly, research efforts have been made to increase endogenous levels of OT. In the present study,
we investigated whether traditional martial arts training, which integrates the natural benefits of physical exercise with dyadic prosocial interaction, would result in OT response. To this end, 68 beginner
and advanced participants were recruited from several schools practicing Jujitsu (“soft art”), a form of traditional martial arts originating in Japan. Salivary OT levels were assessed at baseline, immediately
following high-intensity training, and following a cool-down period. Analyses revealed a significant increase in OT immediately after a high-intensity training, returning to baseline levels following a cooldown
period. Additionally, although no significant difference between beginner and advanced martial artists was found, a significantly higher increase in salivary OT followed ground grappling, as compared
to “punch-kick” sparring, indicating an added benefit of close contact tactile interaction. These results suggest that the reportedly socially beneficial effects of traditional martial arts may be in part mediated
by OT release and underscore the potentially therapeutic applications of these methods for disorders involving social dysfunction, such as autism, conduct problems, or schizophrenia. (more…)