The Electrifying Power of a HUG
By Scott Mathias CHHC.AADP
The health-giving qualities of a simple hug cannot be overemphasised as a remedy for illness and emotional blues. The electrifying power of a hug can be measured by an instant increase in chemicals attributed to happiness and joy.
A study dating back to 2016 suggests that when we are exposed to stress, our bodies react through the production of the hormone cortisol. This hormone shows up when we’re stressed, and effectively slows down the actual healing process while it creates “flashbulb” memories of circumstances that we want to avoid in the future. When we experience social rejection, cortisol is released and its effects include making us more willing to make new friends and build a new connection.
But when the Human body comes into contact with another Human body at the skin level magic literally happens.
The skin is not only the largest Human organ, but its nerve endings also act as a sensory radar capable of picking up ‘good’ and ‘not so good’ signals from the local environment.
Research also suggests that the skin is directly linked to feelings of love and joy linked to glands like the hypothalamus and pituitary because of their sensory capabilities. It literally feels good when one is hugged or one comes into ‘skin to skin’ contact with another Human.
What the experts say:
A study undertaken by Gouin et al., 2010 suggests when most of us see people in distress, our empathy kicks into gear and drives us to reach out both figuratively and literally. We instinctively want to comfort the wounded, whether they are victims of terror, disaster, or everyday hassles of heartache or stress. Once you reach out and offer a hand, a pat on the back, or a supportive embrace, you set in motion the body’s own means to a natural high, oxytocin production.
Psychologytoday.com says Oxytocin is a neurochemical that helps us build trust, that somewhat “dissolves” short-term memory, and that makes you feel, well, warm all over. Not only that, but researchers have found that the presence of oxytocin actually speeds the physical healing of wounds. Studies show that even a brief touch of the hand from someone who cares can start your oxytocin pumping.
Just in case you don’t know what a hug is: A hug is a form of endearment, universal in human communities, in which two or more people put their arms around the neck, back, or the waist of one another and hold each other closely. If more than two people are involved, it is referred to as a group hug.
So reach out now and HUG someone and both of your lives will be affected profoundly. BIG HUGS to all of you in need of them right now!!
#thepowerofthehug #hugpower #electrichug #joy #happiness #healinghug
Gouin JP, Carter CS, Pournajafi-Nazarloo H, Glaser R, Malarkey WB, Loving TJ, Stowell J, Kiecolt-Glaser JK (Aug 2010). Marital behavior, oxytocin, vasopressin, and wound healing. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35 (7): 1082–90
Komienko, O., Schaefer, D. R., Weren, S., Hill, G. W., & Granger, D. A. (2016). Cortisol and testosterone associations with social network dynamics. Hormones and Behavior, 80, 92-102. www.psychologytoday.com
Images: Public Domain
Scott Mathias is a Certified Holistic Counsellor, Author and Gut Whisperer. He is a former journalist and researcher with a penchant for thought-provoking stories.
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