Everyone requires a human touch, and a hug is universally comforting. We hug each other when we are sad, happy, scared, etc. And according to scientists, hugging offers substantial health benefits. So much so that physically lonely people have gone as far as to pay for a hug from a professional hugger. What’s even wilder is how impressive the benefits of hugging have, considering we usually only hug for a short time. Here are four reasons why hugging feels so good:
- Hugging can reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a physiological response to an illness. Higher inflammation scores are indicative of your body trying to fight off infection. In one study, 20 adults recorded the number of hugs they received in 14 days. The results showed that those who received more hugs had less inflammation.
- Hugging promotes the “cuddle hormone.” This one is pretty self-explanatory. We all possess the “cuddle hormone” or Oxytocin. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress. Levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone. In a study of 34 married couples, increased hugging between spouses over a four-week study was related to increased scores of oxytocin.
- Hugs reduce stress. Research proves that giving another individual support through touch reduces the stress of the person being comforted. It also helps reduce stress for the individual who is doing the comforting.
- Hugs help reduce the severity of a common cold. In a study of 404 adults, the number of hugs over 14 days reduced the effects of interpersonal conflict on the severity of the common cold infection. The hugs worked as a stress buffer.
We are seeing how powerful a hug can make them even more valuable. Not only do they benefit our physical health, but they improve our mental health as well. Have you hugged someone today?