7 Reasons You Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day

While my 11-year-old son might not admit to it, most people
appreciate a hug from a family member or friend and the  warm and fuzzy feelings
that come along with it. But hugs are more than just nice gestures, they are
absolutely necessary to bond with other human beings and boost our emotional
and physical health. Virginia Satir, respected psychotherapist, says “We need 4
hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs
a day for growth.”

Research shows that hugging leads to physiological and
biochemical reactions in the body that can greatly improve a person’s physical
and mental health because they do the following:

  1. Make us feel good – Hugging someone causes the
    levels of oxytocin, the “love hormone” to increase.Oxytocin makes us feel good inside and
    instills feelings of trust, loyalty, bonding and safety. Hugs held for an extended period of time
    increase a person’s level of serotonin which also improves his or her mood and
    creates happiness.
  2. Ease depression – Hugs can heal feelings of
    loneliness, anger and isolation.
  3. Lower blood pressure – When someone touches your
    skin, the sensation activates receptors which activate the area of the brain
    responsible for lowering blood pressure.
  4. Lower heart rate – The University of North
    Carolina conducted an experiment involving stress and found that the heart rate
    of participants who hugged their partners increased by 5 beats per minute,
    while those who did not have contact with their partners had increased heart
    rats of 10 beats per minute on average.
  5. Relieve aches and pains – Hugging can relax
    muscles, causing increased blood circulation in soft tissues, which then decreases
    tension and relieves aches and pains.
  6. Boost the immune system – Slight pressure applied
    to the sternum creates an emotional charge. Such pressure activates the solar plexus
    chakra which stimulates the thymus gland. This gland regulates the production
    of white blood cells in the body, which keeps a person disease-free and
  7. Relieve stress – Hugging causes the level of
    cortisol, the “stress hormone”, to decrease and calming messages to be sent to
    the brain.

Hugging is just as beneficial for the “hugger” as the
“huggee” demonstrating the reciprocal nature of touch. Neurologist, Shekar Raman, MD, commented on
this subject saying, “A hug, pat on the back and even a friendly handshake are
processed by the reward center in the central nervous system, which is why they
can have a powerful impact on the human psyche, making us feel happiness and
joy…And it doesn’t matter if you’re the toucher or touchee. The more you
connect with others – on even the smallest physical level – the happier you’ll

Happy Valentine’s Day — be generous with your hugs today
and every day!

Big group hug to everyone who reads this!