Hugging is very natural and therapeutic. It is a way of fulfilling the profound physical and emotional need for touch in human beings. A hug provides us with social contact, an overall sense of wellbeing and a feeling of importance and belonging. Research has shown that when people hug, the brain releases the chemical oxytocin. This encourages social bonding, increases our willingness to trust and decreases fear. Hugs are great for your heart by allowing you to release stress and lower your blood pressure.
People, especially children have a need for touch. This need seems to be getting lost in the fast-paced world we live in, where we substitute physical contact with the television, ipads and or computer games resulting in children being deprived of a simple, cost-less and crucial element for their development, survival and emotional well-being.
Hugging fortifies a child’s self-esteem. “Hugging is a gesture of affirmation, appreciation, and acknowledgment,” she says. “A child who is hugged often acquires a positive self-concept, whereas a child who is hug-starved or doesn’t receive any other form of affirmation at home will start asking ‘Am I loved here?’” The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.
Some of the benefits of “Hugs”:
- The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.
- Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
- Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
- Hugs relax the muscles. They release tension in the body and can take away pain: they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues
Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways. They are so much like meditation and laughter. Hugs teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart, your feelings and your breath.