Summer Loving, Summer Hugging – 10 Health Benefits To Embrace
As adults, we can really go through the wringer at times with all the demands of daily life: work, personal relationships, family life and the never-ending issues of our environment and political landscape that we observe on a global scale. This brings us to the issue of love, the remedy of all remedies, the state of being that most of us crave for. Adults need just as much love, attention and care as youngsters, and some of us never really received our necessary dose in our early years. All cultures have ways in which people greet one another, often 2 or 3 kisses, or maybe a handshake. When we think of hugging, it is often reserved for moments of genuine love, happiness, connection or bliss. We want to focus on hugging, because the benefits of doing so can go a very long way. And besides, we all need more love in our lives, so why not explore hugging as a healing tool to bring us greater connection and overall health.
What makes hugging so particularly healing is the way our bodies actually emit electromagnetic waves around the body. Our brain, unfortunately, can’t do that as powerfully. Our heart weighs less than 10 ounces and possesses a level of intelligence that impressively goes beyond our brain. This little organ does more than just pump oxygen for us, it plays an important role in our mental, emotional, and physical processes that science is only beginning to understand now.
One researcher at the HeartMath Institute, Rollin McCraty, puts things into perspective for us: “The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. The electrical field as measured in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded in an electroencephalogram (EEG).” This is beyond remarkable; it just goes to show you that love, as a state, really does send its signals out way beyond our physical body. We’ve discussed the energetic fields of the body in this article, yet the picture below will give you enough understanding to flow with the subject matter at hand.
Here is a list of the most noteworthy benefits you can receive during a hugging exchange; it’s a tangible act of being present with another human being. Hug those you feel to be energetically positive, safe and loving.
Trust & Bonding
Hugging is a form of touch, and when two bodies meet at the heart level, the exchange offers a strong sense of trust and authentic communication between two people. Hugging releases the “love hormone,” oxytocin, which is secreted by the pituitary gland, a pea-size form that rests in the middle of the head. This hormone is emitted while hugging or cuddling with someone, even petting, hugging and playing with your adored dog or cat can release this hormone. It will release feelings of intimacy and engagement, creating greater bonds with those we love and care for.
When we make a hugging exchange, it releases endorphins, dopamine and serotonin in the brain and blood vessels that open the pathways where blocked pain resides by increasing circulation to soft tissues. This helps relieve heavy emotions of isolation, fear, anger, and depression. Science tells us that depression and loneliness emerge when serotonin is nonexistent. If you see a dear friend down-and-out, give him or her a hug; it can make all the difference.
States of Love and Happiness
If you hold the hug just a little bit longer than usual, you will increase your serotonin levels and endorphins to blood vessels enough to raise your mood and create feelings of love, joy and pleasure. This not only increases your self-esteem, but also improves your mental and emotional performance at work and home. Hold that hug longer for the extended love medicine to activate higher states when you feel like you need the support! The increase in positive emotions benefits your health.
Strengthens Immune System
The connection that builds while the heart and sternum are pressed activates the Solar Plexus and Heart Chakra. This arouses the thymus gland that balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and sickness free. We all need a loving support system, and studies have proven that hugging decreases stress hormones while increasing hormones and peptides that regulate immune cells. Embracing literally keeps our loved ones healthy and immune from infections and virus. Go hug your children and loved ones today!
Expands Empathy, Compassion & Understand
A loving hug permits the exchange of sensations through the bioenergetics field generated by the heart, allowing us to feel empathy, compassion and understanding for the other person. That expanded feeling opens both people up to the level of heart-love, dissolving ego and differences upon contact while building trust and safety.
Reboots the Nervous System into Harmony
The simple act of hugging scientifically proves to balance our nervous system. Our skin contains a magical network of sensors called the pacnician corpuscles, which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. What they do is sense touch. The galvanic response measured from someone who receives a hug shows a variation in skin conductance. The result of moisture and electricity over the skin during hugging show a balanced state of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is attained by combining mental and bodily processes (psychophysiological) in harmony, all created by wholehearted hugging.
Builds Heart Health
Hugging involves all things related to the heart, and studies show us that it can decrease heart rate, blood pressure and cardiac sickness. One experiment revealed that partners who do not make contact with each other have 10 beats per minute compared to couples that embrace one another who have 5 heartbeats per minute. Go hug your spouse today!
Relaxes the Body
Embracing relaxes muscles and the overall body. One simple hug releases built-up tension in the body, soothing our pain as it increases the circulation into those soft tissues, giving us a sense of love and consideration.
Boosts Self-Esteem and Worry of Mortality
A research study on fears and self-esteem, published in the journal Psychological Science, discovered that touching and hugging reduces worry of mortality and infuses a sense of “existential significance.” The connotations of self-worth and physical touch from early years are literally implanted in our nervous system as grown-ups. The loving cuddles we received in childhood remain fixed at a cellular level, and embracing reminds us of that deep love. Hugs connect us to our capacity to love others and ourselves.
Opens our Hearts to a Greater Coherence
Hugs are an equal exchange of giving and receiving. We share our love and receive it back, helping us to keep those heart-loving channels activated and flowing within and around us. Virginia Satir, a family therapist, claims, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” If all of us get our daily dose of hugging, we can realign our minds and heart and send out waves of love that will help us achieve more tenderness, peace and happiness to our friends and family, helping to create greater coherence.
That’s all, folks. We, at The Wellness Project, send a big hug out to our community, hoping that we can connect our hearts and minds in making this world a better place. Now go out and embrace your loved ones, friends, and colleagues and see what a difference it can make in your life.
Excellent short video from the HeartMath Institute on the Heart: