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The science of hugs

November 5, 2007
  There is nothing like getting a warm embrace from someone you love or from a friend.  It makes you feel great.  We have a ritual when we go to a BC Lions home game and one part of it consists of going through a very special line to get inside the stadium.  That is because the ticket checker in this particular line up is one of the sweetest souls we have ever met.  Her name is Maryann and over the years we have gotten to know her just a bit, but the one thing we have truely benefited from knowing her is her gift for hugging.  When she sees her friends in the line she shares a beautiful smile and a hug!  BC Place stadium has a very excellent employee!  It goes by pretty quick but it makes us feel so good before we go into the game.
    To my suprise I found an article in the paper on a study about hugging.  Further investigation shows that there have been a fair amount of study with hugging.  Here is what I have learned.
  People have a change in hormone levels after hugging, specifically oxytocin and cortisol.  Oxytocin is a hormone that is important in labour and breastfeeding but with hugging, men and women were shown to have an increase in the hormone, women and couples that are in loving relationships saw the most increase.  Most of the benefit was seen in the women participants with a decrease in blood pressure as well as a decrease of the stress hormone, cortisol.
  The study I read about in the paper showed that in Britain, people are too busy or are  less able to hug because of social conditions.  Here is a portion;
Senior psychologist Dr David Holmes, of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "These days we are just too busy to hug.

"Britain has forgotten how to hug. No one does it any more. We are out of the habit.

"You have situations where families aren’t even in the same room as each other in the evenings any more because children are upstairs playing in their own rooms.

"And young career couples forget because they are working such long hours and are busy when they get home.

"A hug is an important-part of life. We are basically animals and so need physical contact like animals do.

"Political correctness is partly to blame as we have been conditioned not to touch anyone any more as it can easily be deemed inappropriate.

"Life now is all about having minimal physical contact.

"It is a real shame, but on the serious side it is a scientific fact that animals which receive little affection are unhappier than those that receive more contact."

  So my advice to you is to share your hugs to help your heart and to feel good!

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