Hugs are healing. Cuddling is medicine. The heart rate slows, blood pressure stabilizes, and the immune system improves. Virginia Satir, American author and psychotherapist wrote that we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, twelve hugs a day for growth. Hugging increases oxytocin, especially in women.
Recent studies have shown a link between oxytocin and the ability to achieve orgasm, social behavior, pair bonding, anxiety, and maternal behaviors. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” A lack of oxytocin has been associated with maladaptive social traits such as depression, anxiety, aggressive behavior and drug use.
Hugging and cuddling have been proven to not only increase levels of the healing hormone oxytocin but also decrease the levels of cortisol, the fight or flight stress hormone.