By Erika Moreno / Delta Staff Writer

Being touched or hugged not only feels good but is also good for your health. 

According to healthline.com, scientists said that giving another person support through touch can reduce the stress of the person being comforted. It can even reduce the stress of the person doing the comforting. In a study of heterosexual couples, men were given unpleasant electric shocks. Each woman held their partners arm while they were being shocked.

Studies showed that the women’s brains that were associated with stress demonstrated reduced activity while the parts of maternal behavior showed more activity. When people hug someone to comfort them, they may receive a similar response to those of the women. 

Hugs may also protect you against illnesses. Researchers did a study on over 400 adults. They found that hugging may reduce the chances of a person getting sick. The participants with a greater support system were less likely to get sick. Those that had a greater support system who did get sick had less severe systems than those with little to no support.

Scientist split a group of about 200 adults in two groups. The first group had partners hold hands for 10 minutes followed by a 20-second hug with each other.  The second group had romantic partners who sat in silence for 10 minutes and 20 seconds. The people in the first group showed greater reduction in blood pressure levels and heart rate than those in the second group.

Oxytocin is a chemical that our bodies have. Scientists usually refer to oxytocin as the “cuddle hormone.” They call it this because the level rises when people hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress. This chemical causes a reduction in blood pressure. Studies showed that oxytocin had the most positive outcomes on women who had better relationships and more frequent hugs with their partner. 

Hugs help to reduce fears as well. Touch or hugs can reduce anxiety in people with low self-esteem. Scientists found that touching an inanimate object helped them reduce people’s fears of their existence.

Researchers had a study on people with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas.These people had six therapeutic touch treatments. Each one involved light touching. The people that participated had an increase in quality of life and reduced pain. Hugging is a form of touch mechanism that helps reduce pain as well. 

Most humans interactions occur through verbal action or through facial expressions. Scientist found that a stranger was capable of expressing themselves with different emotions to another person by simply touching different parts of their bodies. Hugging is a very comforting, intimate, and communicative type of touch because you are holding the other person. 

Virginia Satir a family therapist said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” 

For optimal health people should have as many hugs as possible in order to have great positive effects. Giving and asking for more hugs is a good place to start for those who want to feel better about themselves and just overall be happier and healthier. Science proved that hugs with people that are closest to you have a positive effect on your brain and body. 

So hug each other more because not only is it beneficial for health reasons and is comfortable but touch is a great way to keep yourself happy. There are many types of touch but hugging is the most intimate in my opinion so try and hug each other more.

If you see someone shaking, panicking, or having a stressful time just reach out and give them a hug. and that hug can change everything. Even their whole perspective on that very moment. You never know, maybe that person is having negative thoughts and feels unimportant but as soon as you touch them they feel important to someone and that causes them to have a different view on life.