Health benefits of hugging?

14 Jan

Not so long ago I ridiculed the idea that we need a certain number of hugs a day for psychological health. Now a study, published in Psychological Science, suggests that hugging may have real physiological benefits. I don’t have access to the abstract yet, but here is a summary:

“A team of researchers, led by Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty University Professor of Psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, tested whether hugs act as a form of social support, protecting stressed people from getting sick. They found that greater social support and more frequent hugs protected people from the increased susceptibility to infection associated with being stressed and resulted in less severe illness symptoms.”


One Response to “Health benefits of hugging?”

  1. locksleyu January 14, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    I remember reading in a book about upbringing that baby’s brains’ growth is stunted if they don’t get enough skin contact with another person. I believe the idea was that skin is an organ in itself, and the massive amount of information the brain receives from all the touch receptors provides needed nourishment to the brain in a critical developmental stage.

    Given this, I’m not surprised hugging as adults also has important benefits.

    Just the fact that hugging has ‘evolved’ as a common cultural thing (though I am aware certain cultures may do it less, if at all) seems to indicate that it has an important function.

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