Has anyone heard of Oxytocin Circles?

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Submitted by Islander on
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There is a group of women (a worldwide movement, it appears) I just came across who call themselves BraveHeart and they gather to empower women in various ways. They're strong believers in the power of oxytocin and they hold oxytocin circles for women. I just came across them and haven't yet found any groups near me, but wondered if any women (or men) here have heard of them and have any thoughts to share. They seem different than cuddle parties. Might be nice for single women who haven't found that Karezza partner yet.



Thanks for letting us know

No, I hadn't heard of them. I'm reading a book that is a great reminder of how everyone can nourish him/herself and others simply by learning to focus compassionate thoughts.

It's useful for bonding-behavior fans, whether or not they're single. It's called Love 2.0  by Barbara Fredrickson.

I've finished it

Yes, it is all about methods for "generating loving feelings," particularly between you and others, but also learning to cultivate that feeling of connection during brief meditations on your own.

She's a scientist, so the book is not religious, but in a sense, it's about the science of why a religion like Buddhism is so effective.

It's a typical pop psychology book in that it's redundant and reads really fast. But those can also be assets for folks with short attention spans. Wink

The ultimate endorsement: I'm sending it to my 24-year old niece. Smile

Love 2.0

Hi Marnia,

Yes, I'd be interested in your thoughts too.

I bought the book yesterday, have read the first few pages, and am immensely impressed already. Thanks for the lead.


Thank you for the tip on the book by Barbara Fredrickson. Sounds very helpful and just reading what it's about makes sense.

I'm trying to find out more about these Oxy circles now and if I get any useful information, I'll post back here. (If there was such a thing as foot rub circles, I'd be drenched in oxytocin).

Healing touch

I'm making attempts to find some guys who share my interest in healing touch. I'm up against some pretty heavy homophobia but I keep looking. Chanting is another avenue I'm pursuing. I'm not sure if chanting has any connection to oxytocin or not but it feels great, has connections to healing and is perhaps a little less threatening to most guys. Thanks for the connection to the book. I'll check it out.

good for guys

Arnold, as I continue to look into these oxytocin circles for women, my mind is thinking -- but what about the guys? Seems they could start, as you suggest, with less threatening connections like chanting. Then as time goes on and they learn intellectually about asexual touch, it could be eased into. Start with images of how often football players touch each other in both competitive and affectionate ways. Male sports massage therapists...

I also remember a place that gave pedicures where people would come in and sit in chairs like at a barber shop, and both male and female therapists would work the feet. Lots of feminine stuff like nail polish was around, but a group of male firefighters started coming in regularly just for the restoration of their feet (no polish ;)) because their feet were so important to their job -- but I think they came in for the asexual human contact as well.


Hi Islander,

Thanks for your thoughts. Yep, we guys have some pretty heavy barriers and some deep wounds around self-nurturing. I struggle with it all the time and effective support from men is next to impossible to find. I think it makes us very vulnerable to being used politically by women. Not many of us seem to see that point. I can get triggered very powerfully in mixed settings and finding women who are into a healing approach to physical intimacy and willing to hear me out when I'm concerned about the emotional atmosphere becoming too sexualized for me doesn't seem to be possible where I live (I've been working on this project for 8 years and have had some pretty spectacular disasters Wink ). So perhaps, in a funny way, I'm more strongly disposed to seeing the problems than most guys. My body has suffered immensely. Most of my self-nurturing practices right now are done alone.

I don't think it's particularly helpful to take on men's problems. We need to suffer before we wake up to the need for healing and gather the courage to connect with each other in healthy ways. Better to find a guy who is into a healing approach to intimacy and see if you can create a healthy connection with him. I wish there were more women like you in the town where I live.

I agree with your assessment of your pedicure loving firefighters. If its job related, its cool. Otherwise we run the risk of being labelled effeminate, weak, gay.... These are very powerful labels and very hurtful to men. There IS a part of us that is feminine and sometimes (probably more often than not as most women know) we are weak. Not all of us are homosexual, but some of us are. It's too bad that as a group we are terrified of our feminine side, so it comes out secretly. I haven't quite figured out how to be secretive about my feminine side... but I'm learning! Maybe I should see if I can find a barber shop that gives pedicures. I once had a facial. It was fun. Fortunately I was the only guy in that healing centre at that time.

I hope you find a way to create your oxytocin circle. It sounds like a great idea!



PS: There is a really good article about touch in April's edition of Psychology Today. It's called "The Power of Touch" (see: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201302/the-power-touch)

Yes, Arnold

Just for yourself, find that barbershop where men work on men physically. Whatever you can get there -- haircut, shave... I swear it's the touch that draws women to hair styling salons. It couldn't be for the hair results. (Kidding). Find a male "sports" massage therapist, I knew a very heterosexual man who did that and had a weekly session. It was "sports" so it was okay. But none of that solves the issue of making it a community movement.

You'd probably do better in my small town -- there is a sort of new agey community and there are a few guys who have joined in Reiki circles which is very light touch oriented. Guys on guys, gals on gals, and mixed.


Hi Islander,

Yes, I might have done better in a number of towns. I tried to get out to Quebec around 2007/2008 but couldn't find adequate support in the community I was visiting out there (the Osho community) to help me heal from childhood sexual abuse. The work scene was really fragile too and support to make connections that way was close to zero. So I decided rather than simply moving there and running the risk of ending up on welfare, that I'd continue plugging along where at least I had some work (at the time) and a number of healing practitioners' support. In the end, this community, in a very backwards kind of way might have been the best for me. It's very conservative, Bible belt, dominated by the elderly (who come here for retirement) and people who come here to play (resort town). So the prostitution and drug scene, although mostly invisible, is very strong. The polarization of male and female roles here is stronger than in most towns partly because it's the least affordable city in Canada. This pushes women (and men) into very traditional roles. Not a particularly warm-hearted touchy feelie, groovey cool kind of place in general. Since I grew up in the military, it's close to the social fabric I was born into. It's also forced me to see how my mothering at birth had some very toxic elements in it. One of the advantages of this town is that it was close enough to gain my mother's support and recently she decided to move here. This has helped me see her in a clearer light and better understand what my very early life was actually like and why.

When my body is falling apart, my motivation to learn becomes very strong. Part of that learning/ healing process has recently been to take on the task of re-mothering myself. This is not a task that most men aspire to and I'm no exception, but necessity is the mother of invention as they say. All of my efforts to effectively satisfy this need outside myself have failed and have forced me to take this task on myself. It's something that until very recently, I didn't think was possible given it's depth and distance from the male mind. Perhaps self-mothering (or healthy re-mothering) is a new concept to most men. It is definitely new to me.

Yesterday I proposed to the men's group I've recently started attending (I was invited by a close friend) that I teach them the self-nurturing/ self-mothering skills I've learned. I got a favourable response much to my surprise! So I'm thinking, I'll check this idea out with the guys who weren't there and see where it goes. I think it would be really good for most men and could help take the burden off women too. Maybe at some point, they'll have the courage to share healing touch with themselves, on their own, then perhaps with me and each other. I can teach Quantum Touch and am trained in Reiki and Healing Pathways. I doubt very strongly, however, that it'll be the first thing I teach. Slowly slowly, carefully and gently wins the race (and defuses the bomb!). Smile

Thanks for your idea about hair cuts. Last time I went to a barber shop, they cut my hair so short that I was supremely embarrassed and wore a hat for weeks. There is a male hair cutter not far from where I live. His price is great and he does a reasonably good job of cutting hair. Unfortunately, his anger at many things and people is intense and I fear he might cut my neck in a fit of unconscious rage at some point. So I go to a hair cutting place that is great... and filled with women. Sigh! Perhaps you women are simply better at these things. Men have things to learn! Perhaps one of them, is to be more appreciative of the things you do well.

Single parenting

That is an interesting thought. I don't really know as I'm not a parent. The single parents I've known (and I've known a fair selection of good and bad, both male and female) generally struggle. Single parenting is challenging in many ways. Even the couples I know these days struggle a great deal to stay afloat. In my mind, what we need is the "village" we often talk about. It doesn't exist as of yet because we don't make reproductive decisions as a "village". That kind of decision making process can only happen, in my understanding, amongst people who have a very conscious and sober approach to sexuality. Once the sexual politics, emotional turmoil, and aggressive sexual and financial practices enter our relationships, its virtually impossible to create a healthy reproductive environment. Karezza and healing forms of non-sexual touch (like your oxytocin circle idea) seem to me to be good ways to start bringing some health into that scene.

My point wasn’t about the

My point wasn’t about the challenges of single parenting as much as the challenges of self-parenting.

What is different between women fathering themselves and men mothering themselves? How does the absence of men many speak about tie in? Alternatively, does over-mothering in childhood alter how men mother themselves later on? And so on? What if under-fathering is more a result of over-mothering and vice versa? Have any researchers examined these angles? The focus seems often tied to childhood imprints that affect how we behave as adults. Perhaps men and women do not process those imprints in the same way.

Villagers consume less than siloed, competing people. Village existence might be a tough sell in a corporatized world. Perhaps if one developed a way to quantify the value to humans against any shift in economic value, it could be better pitched.

Self Parenting

Thanks for clearing that up. Sorry that I got off track there.

I've been reading a book by Kristin Neff called "Self Compassion". I'm not done yet, but she talks of the difficulties of healing herself of a father who abandoned her at a very young age. It seemed to me that she had quite a difficult time with that. In my world, reappropriating the mother in me has been extremely difficult. I'm not sure which is more difficult. I haven't seen any research on it at all. If you run into any, please let me know. It would seem likely to me that women have a little more practice at it since feminism has been around for a longer time than any sincere effort on men's behalf to heal themselves as a whole. I'm not sure if that really exists even yet as a movement.

I'm wondering if there might be differences inherent in self-fathering and self-mothering that are common to both men and women. I do have female friends that talk of needing to re-mother themselves and finding a way to embrace and celebrate their femininity. I fortunately have a source of spiritual support who feels very much to me like a healthy father. I was lucky to be able to spend a fair amount of time in his presence.

I think the core issue is giving the child back some power to choose who he or she wants to be nurtured by. That's a power that doesn't really exist in our culture and hasn't for a long long time, if ever. I have heard of it happening in a meditative commune in a way that seemed quite beautiful. When I decide to re-mother myself, I'm saying to the little being I once was (and still contain the memory) that I have the power to choose who I will serve as support people in my life and in so doing heal the results of my biological parents less than ideal parenting practices (over which I had no control). My sense of being empowered and much less frustrated is strong.

Thanks for carrying on this conversation with me. As much as I love Marnia's message, I sometimes feel kind of off the main streams of recovering from pornography addiction and healing as a couple. Healing on my own is a crucial aspect of my healing process. Without it, I'm completely incapable of connecting with people in an intimate way. I'm too sensitive to the struggles that are normal in most male-female relations. Relations amongst men are usually frustratingly superficial for me too. The abuse crowd is too strongly focused on the abuse to my liking. I'm not comfortable limiting myself to being a survivor. By being alive, I've proved that already. I want to be healthy, happy, thriving, and strong. I'd like to be capable of entering into an intimate relationship with a woman.

Source of oxytocin circles

Turns out the oxytocin circles I came across on the internet are a branch of the BraveHeart women's seminars, which uses the slogan Female Success Model to teach women spirituality, success in the real world, etc. via their visceral body's "brain" and oxytocin is the major chemical they work with to teach women to produce naturally on their own. You have to take their seminars -- both live and online. But it's very interesting. They talk about the "oxytocin breath," and are very specific with how the breath is pronounced as it's released and how it's done to make sure the vagus nerve is vibrated to the fullest to train the mind to release the sense of safety (where women apparently operate best from) from our own brains. And my description made it sound like they're controlling as far as technique -- but it isn't really that way.

Oxytocin inducing practices.

That does sound interesting. I'd like to know more about this "Oxytocin Breath". I'm collecting practices that self-nurture and have a number already. This one would interest me. Does BraveHeart have a book on this topic?

I just saw that Marnia mentions a book called "The Oxytocin Factor" in another blog (see:http://www.reuniting.info/blogs/cplind975/rewire-rewind-rebirth-relivere...). I wonder if it might have a reference to "Oxytocin Breath"?

Nurturing practices

Thanks Marnia,

I asked for our library to order Love 2.0 too. I haven't finished reading it yet so I'm curious to see what practices it recommends. Thanks for your help. Smile

Back to the original question

I've heard of cuddle parties. http://www.cuddleparty.com/
and eye gazing parties.

Who knows how frequently they're held. I think there is a facebook group down in San Diego that does somewhat frequent cuddle parties. I've gone about adding a bunch of Facebook like pages to try to find out about interesting events like that.

So in short - I believe they're out there - just gotta look for em. Or create them ourselves!