Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg

Kerstin is a pioneer in research on the feel-good hormone, and one of the first to lift its sociological and physiological effects during pregnancy, lactation and menopause. In her research, Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg has found, among other things, that the feel-good hormone suppresses pain and anxiety, lowers blood pressure and reduces the amount of stress hormones in both sexes.

Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg was also one of the first to investigate the effects of the feel-good hormone on interaction between parents and children, as well as other types of relationships, including the relationship between humans and animals. Today, Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg is a popular lecturer with assignments all over the world. She has written several scientific articles and books on the feel-good hormone that have been translated into several languages.

Q & A on the feel-good hormone

What is the feel-good hormone?
– The feel-good hormone is a small protein, a polypeptide consisting of 9 amino acids.

Where is the feel-good hormone formed?
– The feel-good hormone is formed primarily in two major cell groups in the hypothalamus, namely the supraoptic and the paraventricular nucleus. Nerves from both of these cell nuclei go down to the pituitary backbone and from there the feel-good hormone is released into the blood. Other nerves from the paraventricular nucleus go to different areas of control in the brain.

How does the feel-good hormone work?
– The feel-good hormone acts by binding to particular feel-good hormone receptors found on different types of cells in the body and in the brain. When the feel-good hormone is bound to the feel-good hormone receptor, which is in the cell membrane, different functions are activated in the cells.

How is the feel-good hormone released from the supraoptic and the paraventricular nucleus?
– The feel-good hormone is released primarily through stimulation of different nerves from, for example, uterus, breast, gastrointestinal tract and skin. Smell, vision and sounds of a pleasant and friendly character can also activate the release of the feel-good hormone. Even mental experiences and thoughts of positive nature can increase the feel-good hormone levels. Certain hormones, such as estrogen, increase the feel-good hormone release and sometimes even the binding to the feel-good hormone receptors.

In what different ways does the feel-good hormone exert its effects?
– T-he feel-good hormone circulates in the blood and is then a hormone. When the feel-good hormone is released from nerves in the brain it acts as a signal substance and when released from cells in the tissues, it causes local or paracrine effects.

What effects does the feel-good hormone have?
– The feel-good hormone has a variety of effects. Which of these effects that are expressed, depends on the internal and external environment.

  • The feel-good hormone brings together smooth musculature which can lead to milk excretion or contraction of the muscles of the uterus in connection with childbirth.
  • The feel-good hormone, in principle, stimulates all types of social interaction (for example, motherly behaviour).
  • Different types of interaction / behaviours are stimulated depending on the individuals involved and the situation.
  • The feel-good hormone creates linkage between individuals, especially between mother and child but also between adults.
  • The feel-good hormone suppresses worry and induces calm.
  • The feel-good hormone suppresses pain and reduces inflammation.
  • The feel-good hormone suppresses stress.
  • The feel-good hormone stimulates healing and growth.


How is the feel-good hormone affected by acute stress?
– In situations that are considered dangerous or threatening by an individual, the above mentioned feel-good hormone effects can be reversed, ie the individual defends himself and becomes aggressive instead of interacting friendly and the stress level increases.

How is the feel-good hormone affected by prolonged stress?
– Long-term stress and pain almost always lead to a reduction in the feel-good hormone release and to reduced feel-good hormone effects.

How can the feel-good hormone release be activated through the skin?
– The feel-good hormone is released as a consequence of activation of various sensory nerves in the skin. Light strokes can activate a sub-variant of the omyelinated C-fibers, e.g. Ct-fibers, which are linked to the well-being experience. Even stronger strokes and even static pressures can trigger the feel-good hormone release. In this type of stimulation, the sedation, antistress- and healing effects of the feel-good hormone appear more clearly. These effects are probably mediated by thicker myelinated nerves. The feel-good hormone can also be released by the activation of sensory nerves in the skin through mild to moderate static pressure on the skin, such as skin contact between the mother and child after childbirth. Weighted blankets can also release the feel-good hormone through this mechanism.

Is the feel-good hormone in the skin?
– The feel-good hormone is formed in some of the skin’s cells and may possibly contribute to the effects triggered by touch.

How are the feel-good hormone effects exerted in the brain?
– The feel-good hormone in the brain gives rise to effects by affecting the function in important regulatory areas, for example by affecting the activity of the brain’s reward center, the stress axis and the autonomic nervous system. This is done by affecting the activity of other known neurotransmitters such as Noradrenaline (NA), Dopamine (DA), Serotonin (5Ht) and Acetylcholine (Ach).

What does the feel-good hormone contribute to during childbirth?
– The feel-good hormone stimulates the contractions of the uterus, but also suppresses pain during the birth of both mother and child. These effects can be prolonged.

Does the fetus also have the feel-good hormone?
– The fetus forms its own feel-good hormone which is likely to produce similar effects as in the mother during childbirth. Among other things, it protects the fetus / baby from harmful effects of low oxygen levels.

What does the feel-good hormone do after birth?
– The feel-good hormone is released in the mother and child by skin to skin contact, which, among other things, leads to increased social ability, calm and anti-stress effects.

What does the feel-good hormone do in breastfeeding?
– The feel-good hormone is released which causes the milk to be released, but the feel-good hormone also stimulates milk production, makes the mother more socially competent and calm.

Do men have the feel-good hormone?
– Men have basically the same amount of the feel-good hormone as women, and the effects are basically the same, that is, it increases social ability, calms and suppresses stress.

Does the feel-good hormone change with age?
– All have the feel-good hormone, but the level goes down in the elderly unless the production is maintained by proximity and touch.

Does the feel-good hormone level vary between people?
– Yes, there are people with lower and higher feel-good hormone levels.

What causes the difference in the feel-good hormone levels among people?
– You do not know, but there are likely genetic factors because an individual tends to have equal levels for a very long time. Perhaps the feel-good hormone content of individuals who grew up under good conditions may also increase.

Is the feel-good hormone clinically used today?
– The feel-good hormone is given as a drop in connection with delivery to accelerate delivery and postpartum to contract the uterus and prevent bleeding. The feel-good hormone is released and feel-good hormone effects are also induced in various types of contact therapies but also in human / animal interaction, especially in dogs.