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How often people should hug and how it affects health

How often people should hug and how it affects health Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Hugs cause a flutter of emotions and butterflies in our stomachs, as during such tender moments, the hormone oxytocin is produced in the blood, responsible for reducing anxiety and providing a sense of security, according to the website of the Center for Public Health.

How hugs affect health

We hug others when we are excited, happy, sad, or seeking comfort. As it turns out, hugs make us healthier and happier.

According to experts, the results of a study by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, indicate that those who hug and are hugged are less prone to illness.

Furthermore, hugs or touches improve a baby's sleep from birth. In addition, hugs release oxytocin (also known as the "hug hormone" and "love hormone"), which enhances well-being and can even reduce pain sensations.

Moreover, hugs help reduce stress levels, blood pressure, and consequently, the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Experts say that the touches of others help cope with stress. However, when physical contact causes discomfort or is not considered safe (such as during the COVID-19 pandemic), self-hugging gestures, like placing a hand on the heart, can be an alternative.

In addition, hugs can enhance sexual desire, as dopamine is released, stimulating the brain to seek pleasure.

How often people should hug

Experts say that hugs are needed daily. American family psychologist Virginia Satir revealed that for survival, a person needs to hug 4 times a day, for support - 8 times a day, and for growth - 12 times a day.

Hugs can harm

Although hugs can also bring harm, as there are various diseases transmitted through physical contact, especially through dirty hands.

Therefore, it is important to wash hands with soap and water. If this is not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. However, keep in mind that sanitizers may not destroy all pathogens, such as the Clostridium difficile bacterium that causes pseudomembranous colitis.

Also, don't forget that hands should be washed before meals, after using the toilet, and after coming in from outside.

Ensure that during handwashing, soap covers all surfaces of the hands, paying special attention to the spaces between fingers.