The Health and Healing Benefits of Hugs

"A Hug A Day Keeps the Doctor Away"

It's actually true that hugging has health benefits and can be a positive form of therapeutic healing.

It's well known that just the simple act of a hug from a loved one--or even a stranger!--can help a person feel better.

Hugs promote the relaxation response within the body and can help change the way the body handles physical and social stresses. Scientific studies even show that the power of hugging can aid in the healing of sickness and disease. They can also relieve tension and the body and help to reduce pain. Hugs can relieve emotional stress and anxiety and help to easy the symptoms of depression and loneliness.

The Healing Power of a Hug

Whether it be a human, an animal or a teddy bear, the act of hugging has a soothing effect and generates feelings of connectedness and security. Interpersonal touch has been shown to reduce one's worry of mortality or existential fears.

It's been scientifically shown that babies and children who are frequently hugged and cuddled have reduced stress levels and improved self-worth well into adulthood. Hugs and other parental forms of affection from our early years are imprinted on a cellular level and help connect us to our ability to self-love. .

A hug, or a loving embrace, gives us a warm feeling in our heart and a welcomed hug has a positive and healing effect on the entire body.

Some people are uncomfortable with hugging, especially with strangers. In some cultures it's even considered silly or inappropriate to hug in public or hug someone who is not a spouse or relative. But in most cultures, a hug is a friendly and common way to greet someone hello or to say goodbye when parting ways. Some people are 'huggers' and will hug a friend or loved one on every occasion they can. Long hugs with people we love and trust or feel comfortable hugging will obviously increase the overall positive benefits.

To receive most of the physical benefits and elevated mood shift from a hug, it should be held for an extended amount of time. A good powerful hug can last up to 20 seconds.

The Healthy Hug

Hugs and Hormones

Hugs and Relationships

The Spiritual Hug

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