Medical

Study finds hugs can help keep you healthy

Study finds hugs can help keep you healthy

This work is still in early stages; questions remain on when, how, and for whom hugs are most helpful, early findings are suggestive that consensual hugs may be useful for showing support to somebody enduring relationship conflict. Also like contact with relatives or friends were able to raise the mood and on the day following conflict.

The study of 400 people by Carnegie Mellon University, USA, adds to the weight of evidence that human touch has a calming effect on the nerves.

"A sample of 404 adults were interviewed every night for 14 consecutive days about their conflicts, hug receipt, and positive and negative affect", the study authors explained. And hugs might have a leg up even in this category: Research also suggests that physical touch can prompt beneficial physiological changes, such as reductions in stress-related brain and heart activity and the release of the mood-enhancing hormone oxytocin, Murphy says.

Severe or repeated distress from arguments can build up feelings of anxiety, paranoia, loneliness, and depression.

They found those who received an embrace on the day of a quarrel took a smaller hit to their positive emotions than those who did not get one.

The results are correlational, so more research is required in order to investigate the link between hugs and improved psychological function, and to uncover a possible mechanism.




So the new study focused on hugs - a relatively common support behaviour that individuals engage in with a wide range of social partners.

Those who did share hugs or hold hands were questioned further about those intimate moments: how often do they normally hug, do they often hug after a fight, and how does it make them feel?

Receiving a warm hug may help buffer us against the negative mood alterations associated with interpersonal conflict.

In the Carnegie Mellon study, both men and women benefited equally from hugs.

A 2015 Carnegie Mellon study found that those who were hugged more had a lower risk of catching colds after being exposed to the virus, Murphy noted.

"Hugs, at least among "close others", might be a simple, straightforward, effective way to show support to someone you care about who is experiencing conflict with a relationship in their life", Murphy said.