February 11, 2012 by finlandiapharmacy
Filed under Finlandia Pharmacy Natural Health Products - News & Updates
Love. Is it an art or a science? Or is it a blissful combination of both? The one thing most people agree upon is that falling in love is a miraculous feeling where we seem close to a state of euphoria. But what causes this incredible surge of happiness, and can it be maintained through the stresses and inevitable familiarity that successful relationships by their very nature morph into? Can we only feel that all-encompassing giddyness for a few months at best, or is there some means of prolonging it so that we feel we are falling in love every day?
It’s a tantalizing concept, and one that many couples will say is impossible. This may be true, but the ensuing state of being in love can come close, if we take heed of a few pointers.
Let’s take a closer look at what exactly gives rise to the emotions experienced when love is new.
“When I first met her, I can’t even describe what I felt like,” says Sean, of his wife, Sandra. “I’m an artist, and it was like having a new palette of colours that I’d never seen before. Everything was brighter, magical, more intense. I felt almost stoned whenever I looked into her eyes. I couldn’t believe I was so lucky to have met her.”
Brighter colours, finding sunshine in the rain, wanting to shout and dance in the street, and a feeling of delirium when the object of one’s desire comes to mind are all ways both sexes describe the heady feelings associated with new love.
Dr. Brian G. Gilmartin is squarely on the side of science and sums this up in The Biochemistry of Falling in Love. He writes:
The available data indicate that romantic love feelings commence in the region of the lower brain that is known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is composed of a dense cluster of nerves which controls hundreds of bodily functions and impacts in a large host of ways the entire nervous system. Whenever a person subjectively perceives another human being as romantically appealing, a portion of the hypothalamus transmits a message by way of various chemicals to the pituitary gland. And in turn the pituitary releases a host of its own hormones which rapidly suffuse the entire bloodstream. The sex glands respond to these hormones by rapidly releasing into the bloodstream their own hormones which have the effect, even among pre-adolescent children, of creating a more rapid heartbeat and a feeling of lightness in the head. Simultaneously, the nerve pathways in and around the hypothalamus produce chemicals that induce—provided that these chemicals continued to be produced over a long period of time—what people refer to as “falling in love.”
Among the first signs of falling in love is a giddy high similar to what might be obtained as a result of an amphetamine boost. This “high” is a sign that the brain has entered a distinct neurochemical state. This occurs as a result of the hypothalamus releasing a chemical substance (probably phenylethylamine) that is very much like an amphetamine and which, like any “upper,” makes the heart beat faster and confers energy. This biochemically-based high is experienced by anyone “in love” quite irrespective of their chronological age.
Most people in Western societies would argue that falling in love is a personal process that happens when the “right” person crosses our path, implying that finding the right person is entirely random, governed by an object, i.e. the person we desire. However, cultures that practise arranged marriages believe that love is more of a function that grows after marriage has taken place. In this sense, love could be considered more of an art: something that requires work to fully develop.
And this is how we intend to tie together art and science, which should both play a role if we are to prolong the emotions of romantic love…
Revisit the art of love…
Many women and some men complain that they rarely or never feel “in the mood” like they did when they first met their partners. While a lot of this is to do with suppressed hormones (a new mother, or a busy, stressed executive will have entirely different priorities—and hormone profile—from a person who is less busy and has just met that special someone), we also tend to forget the “art” of being in love. Look back on the days when love was new. Remember putting your partner’s happiness in front of your own? Of preparing little surprises? Of gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes? Of performing ceremony? Showering, making yourself look good, lighting candles and looking your loved one in the eye for prolonged periods, are all components of the ceremony of love. And this ceremony is often overlooked as time passes. When was the last time you took your partner’s hands in yours and looked him in the eye for more than a second or two? Significantly, married couples who mourn the loss of romance, rarely attempt to create it and even say they feel uncomfortable looking their partner in the eye for long periods of time. Is it any wonder that romantic love gradually fades away?
This Valentine’s Day, we invite you to practise your own “love ceremony” by perhaps sipping our Love’s Blend tea (available from the Herbal Dispensary) or Pukka Love Tea, both of which possess aphrodisiac qualities, lighting a beautifully scented Ganesha soy candle, then holding hands and looking each other deeply in the eyes. The gaze of your loved one is often more intimate than sex that has become routine. Don’t stop there! Voice all the things you love about your partner and ask her to do the same. Let go of the outside world and become as one again. Perhaps you will want to give each other a candlelight massage using warm massage oil. Share stories about when you first met, gently outline the frame of your partner’s face with your hands and breathe in the scent of his neck. Celebrate the art of loving!
…and pay attention to the science
On the science side of things, female hormones often require a little help. This is completely understandable when you consider that our female ancestors were pretty much over sexual activity once they had produced offspring. Instead, they assumed the role of crone and became responsible for dispensing advice and childcare services to younger women. Our modern day society is entirely different. We are expected (and indeed want to) remain desirable and desiring, often into old age. But our hormones are still trapped in their ancestral patterns and begin waning well in advance of menopause.
Bio-identical hormones provide us with the boost we need to fully extend our youthfulness and the youthful role of lover as opposed to ancient wise one. Recently another hormone has made the six o’clock news: oxytocin. Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and is dubbed “the cuddle hormone” or “the love hormone.” When we first fall in love, oxytocin levels are high. During the process of orgasm, the body is flooded with oxytocin, another clue that we need to practise love in order to feel more of it. Researchers from the University of Carolina found that hugging someone instigates the release of oxytocin in the person being hugged.
Since a woman’s desire encompasses a number of different chemical reactions, and oxytocin plays an important role, low levels of this hormone can greatly affect libido. (Bio-identical hormones require a prescription from a medical doctor or naturopath, and oxytocin a doctor’s prescription. All can be compounded by Finlandia.)
Men too often experience dropping testosterone levels and need a boost if they are to feel the strong urges of youth.
And finally, a quote from American writer Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Suess:
You know you are in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.
We wish a happy Valentine’s Day to all our customers!