The Power of Hugging

A famous quote by psychotherapist Virginia Satir goes, "We need 4 hugs a day for survival.
We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth." Whether those exact
numbers have been scientifically proven remains to be seen, but there is a great deal of scientific
evidence related to the importance of hugs and physical contact.
The more you connect with others -- on even the smallest physical level -- the happier you'll be."
* Hugging stimulates oxytocin.
Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain's emotional center,
promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous.
It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. This magic substance is released during
childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us
from their bodies and ensures they still want to love and spend time with us. New research from the University
of California suggests that it has a similarly civilizing effect on human males, making them more affectionate
and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual
performance of test subjects. When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary
gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress,
high blood pressure, and heart disease.
* Hugging cultivates patience.
Connections are fostered when people take the time to appreciate and acknowledge one another. A hug is one
of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgement of another person.
* Hugging prevents disease.
Affection also has a direct response on the reduction of stress, which prevents many diseases. The Touch
Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine says it has carried out more than 100 studies
into touch and found evidence of significant effects, including faster growth in premature babies, reduced pain,
decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune
systems in people with cancer.
* Hugging stimulates the thymus gland.
Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this
creates stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body's production of white blood cells,
which keep you healthy and disease-free.
* Communicate without saying a word.
Almost 70 percent of communication is nonverbal. The interpretation of body language can be based on a single
gesture, and hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself nonverbally to another human being or animal.
* Hugging boosts self-esteem,
especially in children. The tactile sense is all-important in infants. A baby recognizes its parents initially by
touch. From the time we're born our family's touch shows us that we're loved and special. The associations of
self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. Hugs,
therefore, connect us to our ability to self-love.
* Hugging stimulates dopamine.
Everything everyone does involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Low dopamine levels play a role in the
neurodegenerative disease Parkinson's as well as mood disorders such as depression. Dopamine is responsible for
giving us that feel-good feeling, and it's also responsible for motivation! Hugs stimulate brains to release
dopamine, the pleasure hormone.
* Hugging stimulates serotonin.
Reaching out and hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels. The released endorphins and
serotonin cause pleasure, negate pain and sadness, decrease the chances of getting heart problems, help fight
excess weight, and prolong life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels.
Hugging for an extended time lifts one's serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
* Hugging aids parasympathetic balance.
Hugs balance out the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure
centres called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain
through the vagus nerve. 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
A 10-second hug a day can lead to biochemical and physiological reactions in your body that can significantly benefit
your health. According to one study, this includes: lowering risk of heart disease, reducing stress, fighting fatigue,
boosting immune system, fighting infections and easing depression. There's no doubt that hugging, caressing, and cuddling
feel good. As neurologist Shekar Raman, MD said in the Huffington Post: "A hug, pat on the back, and even a friendly handshake
are processed by the reward center in the central nervous system, which is why they can have a powerful impact on the human
psyche, making us feel happiness and joy ... And it doesn't matter if you're the toucher or touchee. The more you connect with
others -- on even the smallest physical level -- the happier you'll be."
Hugging helps the immune system, cures depression, reduces stress and induces sleep. It's invigorating, rejuvenating and has no
unpleasant side effects. It is all-natural, organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients
and 100 percent wholesome. There are no batteries to wear out, no periodic check-ups, low energy consumption, high energy yield,
inflation-proof, non-fattening, no monthly payments, theft-proof, non-taxable, non-polluting and, of course, fully returnable.
Hugging is practically perfect, with the only exception being that it can't recreate the wheel.