The Science of Cuddling

Cuddling is one of the most romantic and intimate things you can do with your partner. It is more than just being close to each other, it is about being present, expressing your and sharing the universal love. To embrace one another with our whole hearts means to give the greatest recognition and appreciation to our loved ones.

Physical contact, like hugs, have been shown to improve relationships between partners by balancing communication, reducing conflicts, and most importantly, building trust. Deep and mindful cuddling can bring healing, understanding, and lots of happiness, if you know how to hug. Here’s what the hugging meditation practice suggests:

According to the hugging meditation practice, you have to really hug the person you are holding. You have to make him or her very real in your arms, not just for the sake of appearances, patting him on the back to pretend you are there, but breathing consciously and hugging with all your body, spirit, and heart.

[…]

When we hug, our hearts connect and we know that we are not separate beings. Hugging with mindfulness and concentration can bring reconciliation, healing, understanding, and much happiness. The practice of mindful hugging has helped so many people to reconcile with each other — fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, friends and friends, and so many others. – Thich Nhat Hanh, How To Love

Yet, cuddling makes us feel good, not just emotionally but also physiologically. In fact, touch itself brings the number of encouraging health benefits. This DNews video provides a nice scientific explanation on why you should hug your partner more often.

Key take aways from the video:

  • Physical touch increases the release of oxytocin, a neuropeptide that promotes trust, devotion and bonding;
  • Physical touch, like cuddling, activates the orbital frontal cortex in the brain, which is responsible for our reward-related behaviors;
  • Cuddling has biological ability to bring connections;
  • Cuddling can stave off illness, alleviate anxiety and significantly the levels of stress hormones cortisol;
  • There’s a device called “Squeeze Machine” that gives deep tissue touch, helping autistic people to tolerate touch with the goal of reducing anxiety.

Plus,

  • The feeling of touch originates from nerve fibres in our skin. These fibres send signals to the insular cortex that processes emotions;
  • Different types of touch have different impact on our nervous system. For example, reassuring hand on the shoulder stimulates the vagus nerve, which relaxes you by slowing your heart down and decreasing your blood pressure;
  • Teammates that support each other by hugs or high fives create better teams.

Hugs, everyone

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