Updated: Feb 9
Photo Credit: @theshine
Why is human touch so important? Is it because it's reassuring? Is it because we feel safe? Maybe it's both... There are many benefits and reasons why humans crave a human touch. From the day we are made (still in womb) we are surrounded by physical touch. It's as if hugs are vital for our survival, such as - air, water and food. Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
What happens when we receive a hug? Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that scientists sometimes call the “cuddle hormone.” This is because its levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin causes a reduction in blood pressure and of the stress hormone norepinephrine. Hugging someone, heart to heart (a genuine hug) for 20 seconds will release oxytocin or "the love hormone" which elevates our mood and release stress from our bodies.
With this being said, here are several benefits from receiving and giving hugs.
– Significantly lowers blood pressure – Raises oxytocin in our system, which heals feelings of loneliness and anger – Being that hugs make us feel loved, it also boosts our confidence and self esteem
– Hugs may boost your heart health – Hugs may prevent illnesses by strengthening your immune system as it stimulates the thymus gland – Relaxes muscles and releases tension in the body hence reduces stress levels – Balances the nervous system
– Hugs help reduce your fears and sense of loneliness
– Hugs help you communicate with others
– Hugs help build trust and a feeling of safety
– Improves sleep as it stimulates cortisol
– Stimulates the brain's memory centers
– Prompts positive emotions by releasing oxytocin, the “love hormone”
Hugging is a well researched and highly effective way to heal, bond and create relationships through life. Embrace your loved ones and it benefit the both of you. Hugs are free and can be used to help yourself and others so maximize this power you have!