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OXYTOCIN is a hormone that makes us feel bonded, ‘facilitating' the release of two key brain chemicals, dopamine and serotonin, which both affect mood, says Paul Zak, a professor of economic sciences, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University in California.
In one of his studies, published in the journal Alternative Therapies in 2012, Professor Zak found that just 15 minutes of massage caused oxytocin levels to rise by 17 per cent. Hugging and kissing also stimulate oxytocin production. But if these aren't available to you Professor Zak suggests some technology that allows remote bonding.
"A number of companies have products that can give people the sense of touch. They're too new to have been tested to confirm that they cause oxytocin release, but I suspect they will," he says.
One such product is Bond Touch, a wristband that ‘buzzes' when one wearer touches it to let the other person know they're thinking about them (£104 for two, uk.bond-touch.com).
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