I believe hugs are underestimated.
I believe they are therapeutic.
I believe they are necessary.
I did not receive a lot of physical touch growing up and sometimes I wonder what impact it would have had on me since I have witnessed the power of hugs first hand. When I was married, my wife made a decision to press my father for a hug every time she saw him. This is a man who grew up making his own shoes and dodging plates from his alcoholic father. Hugs were just silly things American people did, like eat turkey and say “bless you”. But it infected him. I saw it in his frightened eyes. Like a zoologist studying chimpanzees, I studied my father’s behavior as my ex-wife threw her arms around him over and over and over again. I admired her for her determination to moisturize this dry cracked wrinkle of a man known as dad. The result was he became softer. He was less uptight and more social, happier during the time we saw him. He even started to initiate the hugs like a dog salivating when she heard the bell. Although he probably won’t admit it, I believe it’s what he misses the most of my ex-wife. Someone to hug.
If my story doesn’t sway, here’s the scoreboard.
A telling example was a study of Korean infants in an orphanage.
Those who received an extra 15 minutes of a female voice, massage and eye-to-eye contact, five days a week for four weeks, gained more weight and had greater increases in body length and head circumferences after the four weeks and at 6 months of age than children without the extra stimulation.
A University of North Carolina study put 38 couples in a room and asked them to sit together and talk about a time when they were happy. Then, they watched a romantic movie and talked for 10 more minutes. After that, the couples hugged for 20 seconds. The study determined that hugs increase levels of oxytocin, a “bonding” hormone. Oxytocin is usually released during labor in women and is connected to social recognition, bonding, and building trust. In the hugging couples, they saw reduced levels of cortisol, which increases blood pressure and slows metabolism, which can promote weight gain. So by hugging, you’re actually speeding your metabolism.
David Bresler, former director at UCLA’s Pain Control Clinic, instructed a female patient who had reoccurring pains to have her husband give her 4 hugs a day. Within weeks, she reported her pain had subsided substantially.
Dr. Dolores Krieger, a professor of nursing and expert in touch therapy at this amazing university we attend, reports that touching other people stimulates the hemoglobin in our tissues causing oxygen to be spread throughout our body. This leaves us feeling invigorated.
“I believe we need social contact. Take, for example, the fact that babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact with their mother with better physical development and positive bonding.”
“Therapeutic touch has been shown to reduce stress and pain among adults, and reduces symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, such as restlessness, pacing, vocalization, searching and tapping.”
Hug like you were born without arms
and just received a brand new pair.
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