Hugging helps you feel connected and close to people you care about, but it turns out that also hugging benefits are numerous both for your body and mind. Have you ever wondered what happens to you while you are hugging someone?
Let’s see some of the most amazing hugging benefits that make miracles happen in our bodies.
Hugging benefits overall mood
It makes us feel good. Serotonin and oxytocin are endorphins responsible for our happiness. Each time when we hug someone these endorphins are released and we feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Oxytocin is also known as “the cuddle hormone.” Matt Hertenstein, a psychologist at the DePauw University says that oxytocin promotes feelings of bonding, trust, and devotion.
Those who are lonely or those who are dealing with depression are actually experiencing really low levels of serotonin.
Relaxes Your Body
Hugging actually relaxes your muscles in the best ways possible. When you are hugging, your muscles immediately begin to release tension all over the body. So it isn’t a bad idea to hug each other more often.
Decreases Heart Rate, Improves Heart Health
Hugging decreases heart rate. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, conducted a study about the link between blood pressure and frequent hugs. Participants who did not have any warm contact with their partners experienced an increased heart rate compared to those who hugged with their partners during the experiment. (1) (2)
This study also found that premenopausal women who more frequently hugged with their partners had lower blood pressure and higher oxytocin levels than those who didn’t get as many hugs.
So, hugging benefits heart rates, helps in decreasing blood pressure and cardiac illness.
Hugs are a natural stress reliever
Hugging lowers the amount of the stress hormone known as cortisol. Hugs also send calming messages to the brain and make our bodies release tension. This is also helpful in decreasing diabetes mellitus and cortisol-induced hyperglycemia.
Some experts attribute the hugging benefits for health and stress-reducing, to the release of oxytocin.
Boosts Immune System
Hugging decreases the stress hormone which inhibits the immune system and increases the peptides and hormones that regulate the functioning of immune cells. Hug your children more often and keep them healthy!
Studies show that excessive exposure to stress hormone can lead to depression when the child grows up. (3) And most of all it can compromise the child’s immune system and affect verbal reasoning and memory later in life. (4) (5)
The release of endorphins is one of hugging benefits. Endorphins soothe aches by increasing circulation to soft tissues and relieve pain by blocking pain pathways. This removes pain-stimulating peptides, therefore, reach out for a hug when you are in pain!
Well-hugged babies are less stressed as adults
As mentioned before, hugs relieve stress and this is especially important in the early stages of life. From a combination of nurture and nature in babies’ development depends how they’ll cope with stress as adults.
There is nothing better than snuggling and hugging our children. As one article in Scientific American shows, children who lived with their parents had different hormone levels than children who lived in deprived surroundings like orphanages. The levels of the stress hormone – cortisol, were higher in kids who lived in orphanages. It is surmised that a key factor was the absence of physical contact as compared to children living with parents. (6)
Express your love – hug your children with no reason and make sure they feel connected and loved every day!
Increases Understanding & Empathy
The exchange of feelings, during a passionate hug, allows the bioenergetics field generated by the heart across and causes us to empathize with the other person.
So there are not words that can explain the trust this builds between people.
The Life Saving Hug
A pair of twins, Kyrie and Brielle Jackson, in 1995 were born 12 weeks premature weighing only 2 lbs.
Kyrie started to thrive and put on weight after birth but Brielle was not doing so well. She cried a lot, turning blue-faced and gasping for air. Her heart rate rose and went into critical condition.
Hospital policy in those days, in order to reduce the risk of cross-infection, required the twins to be placed in separate incubators.
The NICU nurse tried everything and still couldn’t calm her down, so with the parents’ permission, she placed Brielle next to Kyrie in the same incubator.
Almost immediately, Brielle began to calm down and snuggled up to Kyrie. Her blood-oxygen level which was frighteningly low rose within minutes. As she napped, Kyrie hugged her sister with her stick-thin arm. Brielle’s body temperature rose to normal and her heart rate started to stabilize.
Since then this miraculous “Rescuing Hug” has changed the practice of infant medicine in the United States.
So now multiple-birth preemies are co-bedded. Also, kangaroo care or skin-to-skin contact is used by caretakers and parents to stabilize preterm infants.
Find out more about Kissing Benefits and 6 Reasons to Smooch More Often