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A Hug Says It All – 5 Reasons to Hug Your Loved One as Often as Possible

Virgina Satir, quoted in an article by Toni Agnesi, once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” If we need that many hugs just think how many a person with Alzheimer’s must need.

Agnesi writes, “Hugs make us feel important, wanted, and loved. Who can resist the hugs of a child or grandchild, burying themselves in your arms? He continues by stating, “A hug is more powerful than a thousand words!”

An NIH article reports on the largest published study on therapeutic touch. The study’s abstract states, “Outcomes from this continuous quality improvement (CQI) clinical study suggest that therapeutic touch . . . promotes comfort, calmness, and well-being. In addition, patients are highly satisfied with therapeutic touch.”

Marcus Felicetti published an article on the MindBodyGreen website that reviews the scientific research on the benefits of touch. He cites findings of the various research studies on which he reports. I’ll present five of the most important ones here:

  1. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
  1. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
  1. 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.
  1. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches in increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
  1. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system.

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8 Responses to “A Hug Says It All – 5 Reasons to Hug Your Loved One as Often as Possible”

  1. Jan says:

    thank you for the hug info. I really need one as my husbands caregiver but didn’t really think about him needing one even more

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  2. janet from canada says:

    so beautiful I love every word!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Jan says:

    I so miss a hug from my husband and his smile and his expressions. He also has Parkinson’s so little smile or expression or connection. Thank you so much for the advice.

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  4. Karen from Florida says:

    The Satir quote was familiar to me, as my late dad was an No one in my family, however, has ever been touchy-feely … it was something I “worked on” as a young adult to change. I became known in the addiction recovery support group I facilitated for hugging people good-bye, explaining how most people didn’t get nearly enough hugs … even though some grumbled or resisted, they seemed to enjoy the contact nevertheless.

    When I started caring for my mother, after my dad unexpectedly died, I started hugging her good-night. I knew I could use the hug, and I think my mom started looking forward to it. I usually tell her I love her at the same time … it’s become our nightly ritual that means a lot to both of us, even though we’d quit hugging years previously. Thanks for the reminder.

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  5. Woody from Oklahoma says:

    Before The President’s dementia began taking its toll, Ron Reagan Jr. had began hugging his father when both meeting and departing. After forgetting the particulars of their relationship, Mr. Reagan would get excited whenever Ron Jr. would enter a room and say, “I know who you are. You’re that man who hugs me.” (retelling from Chicken Soup for the Soul)

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  6. VideoPortal from Eritrea says:

    In fact, for nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits. Pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety . They boost our immunity. They can even help you get dates.

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  7. Jhoei says:

    I love hugging my love ones and being hugged by them in return. My kids go to bed at night and would always hug me until they fall asleep. It made them feel loved and secured.

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  8. Analynn says:

    Making someone feels that they are really appreciated would be really great.

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