Leading well-being experts recommend that we need 8 hugs a day to maintain optimum health levels, and ideally each hug should last at least 20 seconds.
As you know one of my passions is cuddling!
For me a hug or embrace is so easy to give. In my repertoire I have various types of embraces that I share with people, each one has a different meaning. Coming from an intention of giving kindness and reassurance to the receiver, loving touch has its own language. It is possible to communicate support, understanding, tenderness, appreciation, strength, safety, warmth, acceptance and value through conscious touch.
I believe hugs are a quick, easy, fun and free way to de-stress and stay happy, that they are medicine for our body, mind and soul. The chemicals that a hug produces in our body promotes wellbeing on all levels. If a child is upset, or hurt, the first response is to give them a hug. It’s an innate reaction and we intuitively know it will sooth and make them feel better.
What’s the science that supports the claim that hugging is an excellent way to keep healthy and happy?
Research from the Touch Therapy Institute provides overwhelming evidence that touch benefits us in remarkable ways. Touch lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels, effectively reducing stress. It is linked to alleviating the symptom of depression, reducing aggression in teenagers and improving the immune system promoting over all wellbeing.
Hugs, cuddles and human touch have a wonderful impact on our physical system. When we are engaged in touch, our brains produce more serotonin and oxytocin. Both of these chemicals make us calm and happy – providing a natural feel good effect. This is a key reason why the simple act of hugging is such an incredible way to not only to bond with our family and friends but also to boost our physical and emotional, health.
Research goes so far as to suggests that without adequate physical touch human beings do not experience normal physical growth and language and intelligence development is delayed. Family Psychotherapist Virginia Satir states that human beings need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.
Interestingly, hugging has just as much a benefit for the person doing the hugging as the person being hugged, revealing the reciprocal nature of touch. By taking time out to have a cuddle is meaningful for the person you are giving to and you receive too.
However, many people in the UK are touch-deprived. One study found that one-third of people receive no hugs on a daily basis while 75 percent said they wanted more hugs. So, are you and your family getting enough…hugs?
Whilst I understand that not everyone is comfortable with close physical contact, we did not all grow up in families who demonstrated affection in this way, some of us have been through tragic experiences where touch has been violent and traumatic. It seems that on a very basic level human beings are hard-wired to enjoy physical connection with others and that this actually a very natural need that we all share.
Let me know your views in the comment section below…..
Until next time, Hugs from Helen