Have you ever had that feeling that all you need is a hug? Well research has shown that hugs not only help us feel close and connected with people, but they also can help with our health. A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University examined the effects of perceived social support when receiving a hug on the susceptibility of developing a cold even after being exposed to the virus. Those with higher social support were less likely to come down with a cold. Even if a patient with greater social support did catch the cold, they experienced less severe symptoms. The study saw that this beneficial social support that is critical to our health can be achieve through hugging.
Other studies have found that increased hugs can lead to lower blood pressures, decreased stress, and less of a chance of having a stroke or heart attack. Researchers are still unsure how exactly hugging has such an impact on health, but one theory suggests that it is due to the oxytocin release when receiving a hug. Oxytocin causes a decrease in heart rate and a drop in stress hormones. This helps the person feel calm and relaxed. So next time you see your loved ones, make sure to give them a hug!