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Four great health benefits of hugs

Four great health benefits of hugs

"Psychology Today"

For those lucky enough to have loved ones close by, the gesture of hugging can bring great health benefits. Sadly, people who have been deprived of physical contact during the social isolations and lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic have felt the detrimental health effects that lack of physical touch can impose.

Communication through the "Zoom" platform and video-conferences are a useful strategy to feel close to others, in conditions where face-to-face interactions are not possible. But nothing compares to being in physical contact with family and friends.

Physically lonely people are forced to pay for a hug from a professional hugger. Not only that, but any couple who is forced to live long distances from each other will tell you that physical separation can be emotionally and physically painful.

Researchers understand this need, and as technology advances, it is becoming possible to receive a hug from an artificial source. A hug is described as the gesture where two people wrap their arms around each other for about 1–5 seconds.

Unlike cuddling, which is usually reserved for our intimate partners, and can take a long time, regular cuddling takes very little time to perform, but can have great physical benefits. Right after a hug, we often feel a rush of positive emotions, and maybe we're a little more relaxed. Physiologically, many things happen in our body after a hug.

It can reduce inflammation

Inflammation in our body is a physiological response to disease. Higher levels of inflammation are indicative of your body's attempt to fight infection. Meanwhile, lower levels of inflammation through physical love suggest a healthier body.

In one study, inflammation was measured using saliva samples from 20 adults who were also asked to record the number of hugs they received over 14 days. The results showed that hugs had an inverse relationship with inflammation. Simply put, more hugs equal less inflammation.

Lowers blood pressure

In a study of 59 premenopausal women (ages 20–29), the number of hugs received from a spouse predicted lower blood pressure scores. Blood pressure is one way to gauge cardiovascular health, so hugging is good for your heart.

It helps reduce the symptoms of the common cold

In a study of 404 adults, it was found that the number of hugs over 14 days reduced the effects of the common cold. The hugs functioned as a buffer, with the severity of the infection decreasing when the hugs were more frequent.

It stimulates the production of oxytocin

Oxytocin, or the "love" hormone, is released by our pituitary gland. It's an important hormone, as it can serve as a buffer against stress, but it also makes us feel connected and connected to others. In a study of 34 married couples, it was observed that increased cuddling between spouses over a four-week study was associated with increased levels of oxytocin.