Healthier with Hugs

I don’t have a Netflix addiction; I just spend a lot of time avoiding homework (like these blog posts) on it. Currently I’m in the middle of Grey’s Anatomy. Season 6, Episode 4, so if you’re going to comment please no spoilers!×14-4.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130629140941

In episode 24 of season 5, you witness Dr. Dixon go through a panic attack.  To calm her down she has Dr. Yang and Dr. Bailey hug her tightly. She explains that it decreases heart rate, metabolic functions and muscle tone. Basically, it calms her down. Source.

Hugs and Hormones

When you hug someone your body releases oxytocin (also known as the “cuddle hormone”). It’s the warm and fuzzies you experience during your embrace. Source. Oxytocin is known to lower stress hormones, reduces blood pressure, increase in pain tolerance and quickens the healing process. Source. Hugs also stimulate the release of dopamine, which an endorphin linked to happiness. You also feel a rush of serotonin, which is linked with feelings of importance. Source.

Reduced blood pressure heart rate

Just by touching someone, your Pacinian corpuscles (pressure receptors) are turned on. These receptors send a signal to your vegus nerve, which then send the signal to lower your blood pressure. Source. As for your heart rate, the University of North Carolina conducted an experiment. The results show that people who didn’t have contact with their partners had a faster heart rate (10 beats per minutes) compared to those who did (5 beats per minute). Source.

Psychological Benefits

Physical affection helps alleviate stress and anxiety, even if only for a brief moment. Source. As mentioned before, hugs release oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. These 3 are endorphins that lead to happiness and feelings of security and trust. Source. There is also a correlation between hugging and less worry over existential crises. In this case, hugging, not even a person necessarily (like a teddy bear), can alleviated fear. Source. Researcher Sander Kool says, “interpersonal touch is such a powerful mechanism that even objects that simulate touch by another person may help to instill in people a sense of existential significance.” Source.


So, what you need to do is go out and hug someone. Preferably someone you know, because according the University of Vienna, hugging someone out of politeness if you don’t know them that well can have the opposite effect. Source

Now here’s the catch: if you want it to be a good hug you have to do it for 20 seconds. Source.

That’s all for now. So go have fun and hug someone.

6 thoughts on “Healthier with Hugs

  1. Emanuel Gabriel Mitchell

    This article can be very helpful to new parents by teaching them how to properly care for the young. I think everybody should receive at least one hug each day to release happiness into one’s life every day. This article says we need at least 8 per day though.

  2. Pingback: A Hug a Day Keeps the Doctor Away | LINIMASA

  3. Elisa B Jones

    Being a hug Grey’s Anatomy fan, I was interested in your post. Reading further in your post I realized that hugs make people feel better. This reminded me of my first week at Penn State. Walking around Penn State’s campus, I kept seeing signs saying “Free Hugs!” Many students held signs and gave smiles while they welcomed strangers to come receive a hug. Many students, from all different backgrounds, ages and sizes got there daily fixing of hugs. Although the students were giving the hugs for an assignment, they effected many peoples days but brightening them a little more, including mine. Look at how much of a difference a hug could make .

  4. Erika Michele Cristiano

    I have always been a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy and have become emotionally attached to every single character. I cant even say certain episodes haven’t put me into a depression.. especially Season 12 finale. I particularly remember this episode when they hugged Dr. Dixon to make her calm down because I found it so fascinating. I have always loved giving warm, tight hugs to my friends and family and usually feel a desire for one when Im upset. I finally understand why I feel like this! Its amazing how much a hug can make a difference in someones day. Heres a great video of a “Free Hugs” campaign. video

  5. Marcella Santos

    First of all, definitely a Grey’s Anatomy fan. All of the episodes are perfect and they keep making you want to binge watch the entire season. I thought this blog post was super creative as it came from a simple action that most of us don’t think about. Crazy to think that one simple action of affection can do so much. I think that all people need affection, wanting it or not. It’s essential for each human to receive affection and give affection out. It makes you feel good when someone says someone kind or is affectionate to you. I guess love cures everything.

  6. Courtney Michelle Walker

    I just had to comment on this blog because I am obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy. I remember that episode completely. I love how a hug can actually make a person feel better. Whenever I am upset my friends hug me and it really does help. I didn’t know that it actually released endorphins. I will definitely hug my friends more when they are not in a good mood! Great job on the blog!

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