Hugs are one of those things that you often know makes you feel better, but did you know that there are actual reasons why this is the case?
A hormone called oxytocin is released in response to touch. Touch such as holding hands, hugs and massage. Oxytocin is a chemical in the brain that can help to lessen anxiety and decrease stress, its known as the ‘love or cuddle hormone’.
Touch stimulates oxytocin to be released via nerve pathways and the oxytocin lowers cortisol levels, heart rate and blood pressure. Studies have also found that oxytocin can encourage positive thinking and optimism.
Hugs can make you more relaxed and can enhance your immune system by changing the way your body handles stress.
So what’s not to like about a hug? Even a 10 second hug has been shown to be beneficial in raising the levels of oxytocin.