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February is the month of love and many of us will be spending February 14th, St Valentine’s Day with the one we love.

Love comes in many guises – of course being in love with your partner is wonderful but loving other family members and friends can be so rewarding.

Many of our clients have lost their life partners, but that does not mean they have lost that feeling of love. We encourage our clients to speak of their loved ones, to share happy memories, in the form of stories, photographs and home videos – remembering the feeling of being loved and loving is so important.

So how does love affect health?

Oxytocin, often called the “cuddle chemical,” is a hormone released when we touch someone we care about. It’s also a factor in our connection with our pets.

We have more oxytocin in our systems when we are simply with loved ones, friends and families. Connections whether physical or mental help the release of oxytocin which is known to lower blood pressure, decrease stress and even boost immunity. Oxytocin reduces aches and pains, increases energy and enables us to experience life in a more upbeat way.

Studies of psychology and aging show that loneliness can increase blood pressure while the feeling of being “connected” lowers it. Studies have also found that people who maintain close relationships with others are less likely to suffer from clinical depression.

Taking time to visit a loved one, hold their hand and make them laugh and feel cared for seems all the more important now, doesn’t it?

Happy Valentine’s Day