Need a hug? The long-term effect of hugging

need a hug

Everyone needs a hug everyday. How often do you hug? Do you sit and hold each other’s hands? A recent study shows that this is good for your health. Paul Zak, also known as “Dr. Love” recommends hugging at least eight times a day to feel happiness and enjoying relations. Virginia Satir, a family therapist, has a great phrase of arms:

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival.

We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.

We need 12 hugs a day for growth”.


Hugging allows the brain to produce enough amount of oxytocin in response to physical contact. Oxytocin has powerful healing properties. So, a simple act as hugging has not only connected us to each other but also affects our physical and emotional health.


HOW TO HUG to make us healthier?


Hugs increase a level of the oxytocin – a hormone of love. This has a beneficial effect on the heart and other organs. One of the studies in this area has shown that women have lower blood pressure after a brief warm contact with her partner.


The 20-second hug (or 10-minute holding hands) reduces the physical effects of stress, including lower blood pressure and heart rate.


Research shows that positive effects are not limited to ones describe above. “Skin has a nerve receptor that is in contact with the brain via the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve passes through a number of vital organs, including the heart, and connected to the oxytocin receptors. Within one theory, the scientists believe that stimulation of the vagus nerve leads to release oxytocin and involves other beneficial changes in health”.


The positive changes in the health

Reducing the risk of heart disease
Strengthening the immunity system
Reduce negative stress reactions
Better fatigue resistance
Relief of symptoms of depression
Increase in the body’s tolerance to pain
The growth rate of wound healing
The gentle physical contact gives us a pleasant feeling.


The role of oxytocin in the relationship between parents and children


The more parents and children hug the higher the oxytocin. Oxytocin associated with the level of confidence in the relationship: the higher it is, the more we tend to trust.


A lot of knowledge about oxytocin we get from animal studies. Female rats stimulate the oxytocin in their young by licking them and being with them in physical contact. This loving care has a long-term effect. When researchers separated the young from their mothers for 10-15 minutes a day and then return them back, most women were happy and take care of them more intensely. But if the separation lasted for several hours, the effects were different. Mother ignored their babies, and some no longer care for the young at all.


Young, who get more attention after mother returns, was more willing to explore the changing in the environment around. And those who did not get attention, developed a great anxiety disorder and had higher levels of stress and blood pressure.


“That, I think, holds for rats as well as humans,”Medical correspondent Al Hinman and Reuters.  Study: Well-hugged babies make less-stressed adults.


Studies on other animals, including monkeys, confirm that maternal care influences the mental and psychological health.


“Our findings show that even touching an inanimate object — such as a teddy bear — can soothe existential fears. Interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance.” lead researcher Sander Koole wrote in the study  in the journal Psychological Science.

Need a hug? A wise choice


need a hugMothers need as much as possible be in a warm contact with infants, especially during the first few weeks after birth. If you can not do that because of illness or other reasons – let so much love as you can.
Couples who concern about daily contact with each other – holding hands, hugging, kissing, sitting side by side – easier to keep up affection and warm relations due to higher levels of oxytocin.


There is a reason to assume that any support, even by phone or e-mail, can help strengthen the oxytocin system and in touch, even at a distance.


8 Good Reasons to Get your 8 Hugs Per Day

need a hug


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