Cuddle and Hug Your Way to Better Health

Cuddling

Our bodies are capable of amazing things, but it’s especially amazing when we can help each other live healthier – cuddling and hugging are great examples of that. Here are five ways a hug or quality time cuddling can improve health.

#1 Cuddling releases “feel good” hormones

When we touch – cuddle, hug, or holding hands to start a short list – our bodies release “feel good” hormones. These hormones include oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Once the hormones are released into our bodies we experience feelings of happiness, relaxation, improve mood, and lower levels of depression. Not too bad, right?

It makes sense that when we are feeling down a hug can often help lighten our feelings. There is also research that suggest hugging or cuddling for more than six seconds oxytocin and serotonin are released at maximum levels.

#2 Cuddling can boost your immune system

It’s often believed, when we are happy we are healthy. When we are released optimum levels of serotonin and oxytocin we’re feeling particularly happy and in good spirits. Serotonin has also been linked to immune system improvement.

Beyond the science of hormones, if we are hugging or cuddling with someone, it can be assumed they are a person we care for. These people should generally makes us happy. When we feel happy and cared for we feel safe and excited about the future, which helps reduce stress and depression which can lead to a weak immune system. Take a moment to give someone a hug and give them an immune system boost.

#3 Cuddling reduces stress

Having a rough day? Maybe feeling down in the dumps? You might just need a hug.

Does this scenario: you have a bad day -> you see a friend -> friend says, “you look like you need a hug.” -> you say, “yes I do.” -> your friend gives you hug.

Now enter the science: oxytocin is release and stress levels lower as well as level of anxiety. Day begins to get better.

Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, you might need a hug.

#4 Better relationships

In the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, he identifies physical touch has one of five ways that we express love or want love to be expressed to us.  For many, it’s more important than words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts or spending quality time together.  So those folks who consider themselves “cuddlers” have identified their love language!  It’s vital for them to get this need met in order to feel loved and accepted.  While receiving physical touch by people closest to us is ideal, it can also be enhanced with pets who can also be great “cuddlers”.    

#5 Cuddling improves mothers bonds

When mothers have a new baby oxytocin is the hormone that is released into the blood stream to release breast milk. Not only does the baby induce the release of oxytocin, but sine the mother is cuddling baby, she is also receiving oxytocin emotions of stress reduction, anxiety reduction, and feelings of happiness.

This is very important for both mom and baby. Another driver of skin-to-skin touch when babies are delivered.