The health benefits of hugging

The physical act of hugging is protective, intimate, and one of the few exchanges that is both physical and emotional.

When we arrive in the world we are held almost instantly by our parents to establish the groundwork for our emotional wellbeing, and there are lots of studies that support the health benefits of touch for the very young.

The word ‘hug’ is believed to come from the word ‘hugga’, meaning ‘to comfort’ in the old Norse language, first appearing approximately 450 years ago in Scandinavia.

Hugging holds kindness at its core and there are now new meditation practices emerging such as ‘mindful hugging’. It is also one of the greatest health benefiting non-verbal communications that is recognised across all cultures and backgrounds.

Here are just a few of those health benefits:

Relaxes muscles

Hugging helps loosen tight muscles, releasing tension and helping you feel instantly relaxed.

Reduces stress

Physical closeness translates to emotional intimacy period. In a 2015 study, scientists studied the perceived social effects of hugging — those who were hugged more often had a more optimistic sense of where they fit. Feeling good about our place in the world is integral to a positive sense of wellbeing.

Boosts your immune system

The same 2015 study found that participants were less susceptible to viruses, common colds and ailments when they hugged regularly, boosted by lower feelings of stress and feeling more emotionally supported.

Protects against heart disease

Hugging lowers your heart rate and production of the stress hormone cortisol. This is especially important for busy event professionals who can experience sustained high levels of cortisol during the planning of an event.

Lessens feelings of isolation

Hugs release oxytocin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that regulates bonding and social interaction, it increases feeling of empathy, compassion and generosity, and is the foundation for trusting others.

Reduces anxiety

Hugs also release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centre. People suffering from mood disorders such as depression or degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s exhibit low levels of dopamine, and regular hugs can help.

Help fight fear

Studies involving the role of touch have found that hugs can help with both low esteem and fears of mortality.

Great pain reliever

Hugging releases endorphins, blocking pain pathways and increasing circulation to soft tissues.

Finally hugging is free, it’s kind, it’s good and from all of the above it’s screamingly clear that we need to do more of it.

And you can during #EventWell18 – share your #huganeventprof images on social media the week of 17th to 21st September and let’s break the internet with hugs!


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