Whether you’re a hugger by nature or prefer not to be touched, your physical and mental health benefit when you celebrate National Hug Day, which is held annually on January 21. Give a few hugs today, and everyday to help improve your overall health and well-being.

Increase Oxygen Flow

Touch increases your body’s hemoglobin, and it carries oxygen to all your body’s organs. With oxygen, your body’s able to fight diseases as it recovers from illness.

Reduce Physical Pain

UCLA Pain Control unit’s Dr. David Bresler sees the need for physical touch. He prescribes his patients’ to perform bear hugs four times a day as part of their pain management treatment plan. To give and receive a bear hug and reduce your physical pain,  Dr. Bresler suggests that you face your partner and use both of your arms to fully embrace him or her.

Improve Mental Health

Hugging releases oxytocin, an important hormone that affects your mental health and well-being. With it, you’ll feel happier and less anxious.

Reduce Stress

A study performed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researched the responses of 50 people after a stressful event. Part of the group held hands and hugged for 20 seconds, while the rest of the participants sat quietly and did not touch. When asked to recall a recent stressful event, the cuddlers experienced lower heart rates and blood pressure readings then the non-cuddlers. You, too, will enjoy reduced stress when you hug!

Sleep Better

Instead of fighting insomnia or relying on sleeping pills, participate in a few hugs everyday. They relax your body and your emotions, so that you can enjoy a better night’s sleep.

Live Longer

Hugging also stimulates your skin’s nerve endings, which allows them to signal to your brain to slow cortisol release. It’s a hormone that builds up your immune system, fights stress, reduces inflammation and helps you live longer.

As you can see, hugs do more than just show affection. They also improve your physical and mental health. Implement them into your daily routine on National Hug Day, and talk to your doctor and health insurance provider about additional ways to stay healthy and whole. If you  are looking for health insurance coverage, or have any questions, feel free to call Tracy-Driscoll at 860-589-3434.

 

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