Scientists have discovered that a daily hug can combat infections and lower our risk of heart disease. Not bad for the humble cuddle!
According to research, just ten seconds of hugging releases a stress-reducing hormone in the brain called Oxytocin. This nifty chemical reduces blood pressure, combats tiredness, fights infections and eases symptoms of depression.
At the same time, the amount of cortisol in the blood decreases, which means feelings of stress take longer to rear their ugly head after the cuddling stops.
Scientist, Dr Jan Astrom, who led the study said, "The positive emotional experience of hugging gives rise to biochemical and physiological reactions."
For women these 'reactions' could include improved social skills and increased trust. Seriously, all that from a ten second hug!
If you're interested in the science part here's the deal...the skin contains a network of tiny, egg shaped pressure spots called Pacinian corpuscles that sense when someone is hugging you. Signals are then sent to the brain, the heart and the Oxytocin receptors.
Of course hugging for three hours straight isn't going to save your life, but it will make you feel a bit brighter.
What do you think?
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