Dubbed the ‘universal medicine’ hugs have more than just the power to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. A mere 20-second embrace has magical, mystical powers that could be the answer to alleviating stress, lowering your blood pressure, improving your mood and helping you relax. If not for these health benefits then quite simply a hug, cuddle, snuggle can make you feel all the more intimate with your partner.
Now we aren’t saying a hug will fix all your troubles and woes but when times are tough this little pick me up can help. Whether a partner, family or even a furry friend, hold your dearest nearest and boost your happy hormones.
1. Boost Your Happy Hormones
Physical touch can increase your oxytocin levels, dopamine and serotonin, these are the hormones responsible for all those warm, fuzzy feelings that flood your body after a good cuddle. Oxytocin (aka the cuddle hormone or love hormone) is largely responsible for those positive feelings, and a string of other benefits that we will dive into later. This skin-to-skin contact can range from something completely innocent like holding hands to something a little more sensual such as the soulmate embrace - a hug technique by Susan Bratton that will give a new depth of intimate connection with your partner. These hormones are responsible for our warm and fuzzy feelings that cultivate feelings of happiness.
2. Deepen Your Connection With Your Partner
Meaningful touches and hugs can be a great way to build and sustain intimacy in relationships. When life gets busy, intimacy with your partner can take a backseat Just like communication, small, caring gestures can go a long way in making your partner feel appreciated and loved.
Susan Bratton, intimacy and wellness expert notes the importance of a hug in deepening your connection. Her free e-book the ‘Soulmate Embrace’ includes techniques that cultivate positive feelings and increase intimacy for you and your partner far beyond that of a traditional catch-and-release hug. The everlasting impact on your sex life and relationship is undeniable.
3. Relieve Pain
Although a hug might not be prescribed to you just yet - research has found that a cuddle from a loved one can relieve pain. A combination of the existing emotional bond toward the hugger and skin-to-skin contact means hugs are a great way to alleviate mild aches and pains. Next time your cramps have you curled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle, grab a cuddle buddy for a little extra pain relief.
4. Ease Stress
Does a tough day at work leave you struggling to switch off and unwind? Well a hug could be the key to helping you relax with its stress-reducing properties. Prolonged stress has many negative health effects and implications, so keeping stress levels low is a great way to look after your overall mental well-being. Not to mention it’s far easier to fall asleep when you are relaxed, and getting those all-important zzz’s can help reduce stress even further!
5. Reduce Blood Pressure
Affectionate physical contact can lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart rate which is a key way to fight off heart disease. With research finding that more frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure!
Not really a hugger? Start small, cuddle up to those with whom you are most comfortable being in direct physical contact with and reap the benefits of improved wellness.