The importance of hugging each other

From the Web: Psychology & Religion Hugging

Sannyasins are widely known for their spontaneous loving hugs. Yet who knew the significance of touch for the emotional and physical health for all humans – from newborns to old persons? Thanks to Dr. Mercola who provided the research.


From the time you were born until the day you die, touch is an important part of your emotional and physical health. Infants deprived of touch grow up with developmental and cognitive delays, attachment disorders and higher risk of serious infections.

These early touch-based interventions demonstrate the need for touch in psychological regulation. The benefits of touch don’t diminish with age. The late Virginia Satir, psychotherapist and generally acknowledged as a pioneer in family therapy, spoke about the importance of touch and hugs as it relates to a person’s emotional health, saying:

“We need [four] hugs a day for survival. We need [eight] hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

This may represent the minimum and optimum thresholds to generate sufficient oxytocin, a hormone released by your pituitary gland in response to physical touch. The simple act of hugging may not only increase your bond with others, but may also boost your physical and emotional health.

Touch is the primary language to communicate compassion and is fundamental to communication, bonding and health. It supports the immune system, reduces stress, encourages sleep and has no side effects. It doesn’t drain your batteries, but recharges you instead.

Humans are wired so that hugs make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Whether it’s a mother-child embrace, a hug from a friend or a squeeze from your significant other, research suggests these touches deliver some real emotional and physical health benefits.

The basis for several of the benefits psychologists associate with hugging is the result of release of oxytocin. Also called the ‘love hormone’ or ‘cuddle hormone’, it is released from your pituitary gland, triggering a flood of emotions depending upon the environment in which you associate the hormone.

The bonding experience of oxytocin is not limited to infancy, but also translates into adulthood, triggering feelings of trust and support between people who hug.

These reactions are the result of actions as a neurotransmitter on the emotional center of the brain. The release of oxytocin with hugging triggers feelings of compassion for the other person, a necessary form of connection and support during times of psychological stress or grief. Feelings of intimacy and closeness give you an optimistic sense of where you fit socially and a positive sense of well-being.

A hug is also one of the easiest ways to demonstrate appreciation and acknowledges the person you are hugging as important to you. Nearly 55 percent of all communication is nonverbal, so a single gesture of hugging is an excellent method of communicating love and care.

In this short video below, Cordero Roman does an inexact social experiment on hugging. Watching the video you may be able to ‘feel’ the difference between the hugs just from the individuals experience on film.

It may be difficult to get hugs each day living in a country where physical touch is not encouraged, or if you live alone. Some people don’t want to hug fearing cold viruses. Others don’t want to hug or may be afraid of how another person may interpret the hug. Be aware of how the other person feels and seek out others who may also want a hug that day. Remind yourself as you meet people, well all need hugs each day. As you look for opportunities, more will appear. Above all, be spontaneous!

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