8 Significant Health Benefits of Hugging


Yes, you’ve read it right. A hug a day is so beneficial for your health and happiness. A trend like this is becoming more and more popular. First, we’ve popularized the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Hugging is the most beautiful form of communication that allows the other person to know beyond a doubt that they matter.

This is also true with eggs. And, now…well, actually, hugging has been known to make us feel good.

We just starting to appreciate it today. And, guess what? Researchers are now finding more evidence on hug health benefits.

Health Benefits of Hugging
A Hug A Day Keeps You Happy and Healthy

Regardless of the kind of hug, it just makes us feel good! But wait, you might say, are there are many kinds of hugs? Of course, there are! From a hug of a mother to her child, a hug of a friend, and of course, a hug from a romantic partner.

Basically, we were born to be touched. From the day we were born to our death, we, humans need touch. And, a hug is one of those ways of touching.

8 Known Health Benefits Of Hugging

There may be more health benefits of hugging. But, we’ll just only mention the known ones especially that these are backed by science. Of course, it does not have to be always backed by studies before a benefit can be considered useful.

Whatever you feel positive about hugging that is not mentioned below, it is still positive.

1. Boosts The Body’s Immune System

One study1 by Carnegie Mellon University found that individuals who are healthy and got hugs are less likely to have colds.

For those perceiving low social support, more frequent interpersonal tension/conflict was associated with an increased probability of infection subsequent to viral exposure. In contrast, among persons perceiving greater support, the frequency of tension/conflict was unrelated to infection susceptibility.

2. Reduces Stress

From the same study as above, getting a hug prior to having a stressful situation is calming. For instance, before going into something worrisome like the first time taking a long journey, making a presentation for the first time, or even having a medical test.

Having someone hugging you before going through any of these stressful situations can help you feel calmer.

…nonsexual physical touch, such as hugging, is a means of conveying empathy, caring and reassurance, and that this implicit communication of affection and concern contributes importantly to the protective influence of perceived support against the pathogenic effects of stress.

3. Lowers Blood Pressure

Hugs don’t only reduce stress and boost immunity but also lower pressure. In a different study2 back in 2005 by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill theorized that hugging suppresses stress hormones while increasing oxytocin.

Oxytocin is commonly known as the “love hormone”, which makes us feel good and relax. Perhaps, hugging is one of the natural ways we can stimulate our vagus nerve to achieve that calming effect.

4. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

The repetition of acts of kindness through hugs may a collective effect on oxytocin production. Besides known as the love hormone, oxytocin is also known as the “cuddle chemical”.

This has been shown in the same study above. In fact, the women who have most hugs with their partner had the highest levels of oxytocin.

Such an act of loving-kindness helps cut the risks of heart disease.

5. Fights fatigue

Now let’s go back to that phrase that says “A hug a day keeps you happy and healthy.” Hugs are both beneficial for emotional and physical wellness. A ten seconds worth of hug can you all the benefits mentioned above.

Additionally, you may get more than those benefits. For instance, one health benefit you’ll get from a simple hug includes a reduction in fatigue.

Hence, to further increase the effectiveness of hug for reducing fatigue, you may want to check these dietary changes, as well.

But there’s more. Adding cuddling to hugging with your romantic partner boosts dopamine level. Eventually, boosting sexual desire, which makes both cuddling and hugging effective acts of foreplay.

6. Eases depression

Depression is really bad. It feels like everything and everyone is against you. Beneath the surface, depression causes inflammation.

And, even though some dietary changes such as the DASH diet can help fight depression, why not add a hug to it. Some health experts believed that hugging is crucial to emotional healing. In this case, it’s depression.

A hug from someone who expresses an act of loving-kindness and support allows the body to release serotonin. This is natural anti-depressant produce in the brain.

Moreover, hugging promotes healthy emotional bonds and makes romantic relationships achieve stronger intimate connections. This is vital because it promotes the foundation of a healthy and happy long-term romantic relationship.

7. Promotes Trust

The increase of oxytocin production through the act of hugging promotes a sense of connection and trust.

8. Expresses Appreciation

Sometimes, in a relationship, it’s easy to take your romantic partner for granted. Fortunately, a simple act of hugging can help revive the love connection. During a hug, there are lots of measurable neurobiological processes happen inside the body, particularly, in the brain.

Moreover, hugging is one of the best and most effective ways to smooth certain disagreements. Plus, giving your romantic partner a hug at random intervals throughout the day has the power to reverse whatever misunderstandings.

How Many Hugs Do We Need Per Day?

Does giving and having a hug a day enough? Well, certainly it is better than nothing. However, the more hugs you give, the more you get.

Virginia Satir, a famous psychotherapist and author of many books said;

We need 4 hugs a day for survival…8 hugs a day for maintenance… and 12 hugs a day for growth.

Regardless these numbers have been backed by science or not, there is clear scientific evidence on the power of a hug. As humans, loving physical contact is vital for us. We need physical contact for sensory development, particularly in infants and children3.

In fact, touch is so important that ongoing research about the Science of Touch led by Dr. Dacher Keltner found;

To touch is to give life.

The next time you see your loved one or significant other lonely, before initiating a conversation, initiate a hug, instead. Make the hug as the first line of communication that you want to listen to and understand.

Establish that sense of trust and connection. Most of the time, upon initiating the conversation after a hug, it creates an open channel. Instead of arguing, it can lead to a fun and productive conversation.

Final Thoughts

Hugs, although seem very superficially simple, they are a powerful health booster. Therefore, in order to take advantage of the many hug health benefits, do it daily. Either you give a hug, or get it and either way is beneficial.

Moreover, hugging is so good. It is a positive act of love and kindness. Hugs also serve as a form of warm communication conveying parental love and support, love and attachment, gratitude, protection, and, of course, encouragement.

The Healing Power of Hug

In 2013, a premature twin was born. Although at birth, both babies appeared to be healthy, the nurse told the father that things could turn quickly in the next 48 to 72 hours.

It turned out, the nurse was right. Here is the story of the twins showing us the healing power of a touch, in this case, a hug from a healthier twin restored vital signs of the weaker twin.

It appears that hug or touch is a human’s innate habit even in babies. Here is another sweet moment captured in a video of a twin hugging and cuddling each other while they were bathed.


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