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Whether you’re wrapped in the arms of your lover, your parent, your child, or even an acquaintance, you should be happy to know that when you’re hugging, you’re actually getting healthier. A hug will actually decrease feelings of loneliness, and a 2003 report by the American Psychosomatic Society found that a hug can help to reduce the harmful physical effects of stress (and no, there is not an App for that).

Did You Know?

  • We have a cuddle hormone. When we give or get a hug, oxytocin, which is known as the “feel good” hormone, is released. It’s a neuropeptide that promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding. Neuroscientists consider it the biological reason why people connect with one another.
  • Hugs improve blood pressure. We have skin pressure receptors called Pacinian Corpuscles that are activated when we get touched. These receptors then send signals to the Vagus nerve, which in turn helps to control our blood pressure.
  • Hugging promotes a healthy heart. Researcher at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill found that people who received regular hugs from their partners had lower heart rates than those who didn’t have any contact during the experiment.
  • The older we get, the more we need hugs. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a researcher at Ohio State University has said“The older you are, the more fragile you are physically, so contact becomes increasingly important for good health.” A hug will actually decrease feelings of loneliness.
  • Hugs immediately lower stress hormones. A 2013 study in Scientific Reports found that they decrease the amount of the cortisol, a hormone that we produce when we’re stressed.
  • Well-hugged babies tend to be less stressed adults.   A now famous 1997 study by researchers at Emory University found that rat babies calmed down when the researchers touched them.  They concluded that the same goes for human babies, though it depends on a mix of nature and nurture.
  • Well, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get busy giving and receiving hugs (if they call security, you’re on your own.)

Do you need a hug? Do you know someone who needs a hug?




Contributed by

Mimi O' Connor
Group Support Specialist

Hearts linked, together we heal…

Better Health Begins With You...

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