Think that a hug is just a nice way to greet someone you haven’t seen in a long time? Think again. There’s a reason why hugs feel so good, there’s healing power in them. Seriously!
Studies show that a 20-second hug, along with 10 minutes of hand-holding, also reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate. This makes sense, since hugging is known to lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol.
Yet, many people 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.
Check out the five reasons why you should stop and give someone a hug today:
Hugs Lower Blood Pressure
The hormones that are released in the body after a hug aren’t just good for happy feelings — they can also help your physical health. When someone touches you, the sensation on your skin activates pressure receptors called Pacinian corpuscles, which then send signals to the vagus nerve, an area of the brain that is responsible for (among many things) lowering blood pressure, NPR reported.
Hugs Heal Your Heart (Literally)
Embracing someone may warm your heart, but according to one study a hug can be good medicine for it too: In an experiment at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill , participants who didn’t have any contact with their partners developed a quickened heart rate of 10 beats per minute compared to the five beats per minute among those who got to hug their partners during the experiment.
Hugs Get Better With Age
Studies have shown that loneliness, particularly with age, can also increase stress and have averse health effects. Because of that, researchers at Ohio State University concluded that hugging becomes increasingly important as you age since the need for physical touch grows. It’s your body’s way of coping with the physical changes it goes through.