Health Benefits of Hugging - 10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day
The article below is the result of decades of scientific research published by the French and Italian scientists 30 years ago. The wisdom of the 8,000 years of matriarchal rule in Persian Empire, overthrown 3,500 years ago, and other parts of Asia were proven right, that children raised with love, hugs and affection will grow up to become loving, caring, affectionate, smart, healthy, compassionate and prosperous individuals.
Hugging therapy is definitely a powerful way of healing. Research study of over 100,000 people shows that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.
Research shows a proper deep hug lasting 5 seconds, where people’s hearts are pressing together and greeting each other by kissing on both cheeks, can benefit you in the following ways:
1 - The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication. Hugging is extremely important in the healthy growth of children and establishing a healthy relationship between the children and their parents.
2 - Hugs can instantly boost the hormone oxytocin production levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, anger and sickness by raising your body immune system.
3 - Holding a hug for an extended time of five seconds lifts one's serotonin hormone levels, elevating healthy positive mood and creating happiness and wellness.
4 - Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure of chests together increases positive emotional charge, which activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body's production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
5 - Hugging boosts self-esteem and self-confidence. From the time we are born our family's hugs and touch shows us that we are loved, special and not alone. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom, Dad and other family members, while growing up, remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to love one-self, teaching us what love is and how to love.
6 - Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body and mind. Hugs reassure and take away pain and soothe aches by increasing blood circulation into the soft tissues.
7 - Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system - parasympathetic.
8 - Hugs teach us how to be caring, capable of giving and receiving love and affection. Hugging educate us how the energy of love flows both ways between family members and loved ones.
9 - Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart and your feelings and your breath.
10 - The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And, it is synergistic, which means the whole is more than the sum of its parts: 1+1 = 3, or more! This synergy is more likely to result in win-win outcomes.
There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist: “We need minimum of four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for healthy growth.”
Eight or more might seem quite high, but while researching and writing this article I asked my child, “How many hugs a day do you like?” She said, “I am not going to tell you how many I like, but it is way more than eight.” Her answer really made me smile and touched my heart. And, I realized how organic and deep the need for hugs is.
As a loving father, I get plenty of hugs from my little princess and her Mamma. And as a yoga therapist, I often give and receive them from my students at the end of a session. I find that love, is a miracle drug.