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:
- Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
- Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
- 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.
- Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches in increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
- 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.