Hugging is good for your mind and body: here are some reasons (if needed) to go back to doing it with friends and family as soon as possible.
If it is true that we realize the importance of things when we lose them, in the last year we have learned to appreciate many gestures and habits that we used to take for granted: among these there are hugs, replaced by video calls and, now that we can see, from cheers elbow to elbow . It is not yet the time to totally let our guard down , but little by little we will return to embrace each other, and the benefits we will derive will not only be moral, but also physical.
THE BENEFITS OF CONTACT. Touch works in two ways: there is a quick touch , which allows us to quickly realize the contact (as happens when we burn ourselves or a fly leans on our arm); and slow touch , possible thanks to a group of nerves called C-tactile afferents , which are stimulated by caresses and hugs. It is this second type of touch that makes us feel good, and causes our body to release oxytocin (a hormone that plays a fundamental role in social relationships, as well as slowing the heart rate and decreasing anxiety and stress levels) and endorphins connected to pleasure and well-being.
But, as we said, the benefits of a hug go far beyond a momentary feeling of well-being or pleasure. Some studies , for example, have shown that sleeping hugged to your partner helps regulate sleep: the oxytocin that is released through contact helps lower cortisol levels, a hormone that increases when you are stressed.
A HUG A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY. There are also studies that show that hugs would even have a healing effect, and would help us fight infections by regulating the release of hormones that affect our immune system: according to a 2019 research , for example, sleeping curled up with our partner would protect us from common cold. In general, hugs make us relax: and since it is scientifically proven that anxiety and stress have negative effects on our body , it is clear that hugging can only be good. And we can’t wait to get back to doing it.