Who doesn’t enjoy hugging? Hugs are a form of therapy, as they bring a sense of care, love, compassion, and comfort, but apparently, there is actual science that happens within our bodies when we are hugging someone or receiving a hug.
Namely, people experience deep physiological changes during a hug:
1. Reduces Stress Levels
Hugging relieves stress almost instantly, as the levels of cortisol circulating throughout the body are significantly lowered.
2. Improved Overall Mood
While hugging, the production of serotonin and endorphin in the brain is drastically increased, which improves mood, creates pleasure, and boosts self-esteem.
3. Improves heart health and lower heart rate
Researchers at the University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill conducted a study which found that participants who had little or no contact at all with their significant others had a much faster heart rate of 10 beats per minute, compared to the standard 5 beats per minute of those that were hugged by their partners. A lower heart rate means a lower risk of cardiac illnesses.
4. Relaxes The Body
Hugging relaxes the muscles and relieves tension, creating a nice, soothing feeling.
5. Balances the Nervous System
Hugging balances the nervous system, as the small egg-shaped pressure sensors known as Pacinian corpuscles within the skin are linked to the brain through the Vagus nerve, and they sense touch.
According to family therapist Virginia Satir, we actually need 4 hugs for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day for growth.
It might sound too much for you, but experts claim that we should get as many hugs as possible in order to reap the greatest positive effects.
Nowadays, most Western people are unfortunately today touch-deprived, live isolated or lead too busy lifestyles with almost no time for social interaction and touching.
However, people could benefit a lot from touch and hugging, so in order to reap all these benefits, try to give and ask for more hugs daily.