Nasal spray against relationship crises?
Love doesn't just go through the stomach, it also seems to go through the nose. This has been found in experiments with spouses, in which some were given an oxytocin nasal spray before conflicting arguments: they were found to be less stressed after the discussion.
Oxytocin, a neuropeptide, is secreted naturally in the hypothalamus but can also be synthetically sprayed and has long been used in obstetrics to induce labor and promote milk production. Previous studies had shown that oxytocin can have a positive effect on stress and social behavior. It was observed that people treated with the nasal spray showed greater trust in their fellow human beings and the environment than placebo test people. In the most recent double-blind, also placebo-controlled study, the team led by Beate Ditzen from Emory University caused trouble in fifty heterosexual relationships with selected hot topics. Before the gong for the first round of arguments, half of the couples had been given oxytocin by nasal spray. In addition, the level of the stress hormone cortisol was determined using a saliva sample.
The comparison with the values of the samples taken after the staged stress scenario showed clear differences between the placebo candidates and the oxytocin group. The latter provided saliva samples with significantly less cortisol, suggesting a stress-reducing effect of oxytocin.