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The Importance of a Hug

By Stephen R. Farris

You're heard the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Well, the same could probably be said about a hug a day. As humans, we need warm, comforting embraces from time-to-time. It gives us a sense of being loved, needed, and that we are cared about. It's not only good for our emotional well-being, but can be beneficial to our health too. So what are other ways hugs benefit us? Let's check them out.

  • Hugs reduce stress
  • Hugs may protect against illness
  • Hugs may boost heart health
  • Hugs make you happier
  • Hugs calm your fears
  • Hugs could reduce pain
  • Hugs help us communicate with each other

Reducing Stress

When someone has had a stressful day or experience, giving them a warm embrace can help reduce those stress levels. It can also return the same favor by helping reduce any stress you might have as well.

Protecting Against Illness

Hugging provides one with a sort of a support system in their lives. People with a regular support system (another person) who received hugs on a regular basis tended to not get sick as often. When they did, though, their symptoms were not as severe.

Heart Health Boost

Researchers on heart health performed studies in which two groups, involving romantic partners, were used for an experiment. The first group held hands for approximately 10 seconds, followed by a 20-second embraced. The second literally sat in silence during the two phases. The first group showed a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate over group No. 2. I guess that's the reason behind the old country western song, "Lovers Live Longer!"

Hugs Bring Happiness

A hug makes things happen. A touch can increase our oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that has been associated with lowering blood pressure and the stress hormone norepinephrine. Bottom line, we get happy when we are hugged often.

Takes Away Fears

When we are scared, frightened or in a fearful situation, sometimes a good hug is all we need to help calm those worrisome feelings inside of us.

Less Pain

A gentle touch or warm hug can make a person feel they have worth. People with certain medical conditions felt decreased pain and a sense of well-being after contact with another human being.


Hugs are a silent communicator. A person could be in mourning, in love, sad, frustrated, mad or going through an assortment of emotions, but where words cannot provide comfort, a hug can by communicating feelings toward them in their time of need, whatever it may be.

So give someone a hug today. It might just be the therapy they need, and for you too. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Plymouth, Minn.

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