The Health Benefits of Cuddling

There must be something great about cuddling! Did you know that this year saw the world’s first ever cuddling convention?

Yes, you did read that right! The world’s first cuddling convention happened and Japan has for some time now has ‘cuddle rooms’ where people can pay to engage in platonic cuddling!

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Why is cuddling so good for us?

It struck me that there must be something really good about cuddling. Being curious to know more I decided to look further into the topic of cuddling and to find out just what are the health benefits of cuddling.

“Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding,” ~ Matt Hertenstein

The average hug between two people is said to last only 3 seconds! Yet it takes around 20 seconds for the benefits of a heartfelt hug to be realised. The reason for these health benefits is partly down the production of the hormone ‘Oxytocin’.

Understanding what oxytocin does

Scientists are just starting to understand the power of this hormone, sometimes called the ‘cuddle’ or ‘love’ hormone, and the benefits it brings to the mind and body.

Along with increased levels of Oxytocin, which is what helps us thrive and bond with our mothers and feel safe after birth, cuddling brings about connection, deepens relationships and can help raise our self-esteem.

This also helps explain why falling in love can make you feel invincible and is otherwise known as the ‘honeymoon’ period.

10 health benefits of cuddling

1. Cuddling stimulates Oxytocin, which acts on the brains emotional centre helping us to feel contentment. Couples that cuddle tend to stay together the longest. It helps to deepen the bond as they spend time focusing on each other without the distractions of life and work.

2. Cuddling improves your sex life! Hugging stimulates the brain chemical Dopamine, which can increase sexual desire. Regular sex has an equally impressive list of health benefits so if one leads to the other it can only be a great thing!

3. Cuddling reduces stress and helps us feel more relaxed. The stimulation of Oxytocin inhibits the stress hormone Cortisol. Chronic stress has a number negative effects such as ageing, illness, insomnia and depression.

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4. Cuddling strengthens the immune system and stress weakens the immune system. By lowering our stress hormones, we allow our immune system to do its job and keep us free from illnesses. We are less likely to fall ill when feeling incredible and positive through the power of Oxytocin.

5. Cuddling can lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate, therefore, it has been proven to lower your risk of heart disease. When you are happier and feeling positive, you have less stress and less anxiety and, therefore, less stress hormones.

6. Cuddling is a natural pain reliever and the ultimate muscle relaxer. Ever wondered why just rubbing that sore spot seems to help? It’s the release of Oxytocin!

7. Cuddling is said to help relieve depression. Cuddles can reduce the feeling of loneliness and lack of connection as it induces the release of Serotonin. This powerful brain chemical increases your feelings of importance and significance.

Serotonin is significantly lower in depressed individuals. Sadly when people become depressed they withdraw from social activities and are often less likely to receive hugs when they need them the most.

8. Cuddling allows you to communicate your feelings without words. In less than 20 seconds you can express your deepest love for someone and increase your feel-good hormones in the process.

9. For an instant mood boost, a cuddle can work wonders. Cuddling is an instant relaxer and boosts all the feel food hormones and chemicals in a matter of seconds!

10. Cuddles can distract you from anger or pain. Just grabbing a child, friend or partner who’s in a moment of despair, and delivering a strong and powerful hug can immediately bring distraction and the subsequent release of feel-good hormones. You can literally turn their mood around in moments without uttering a word!

Who can you start hugging today?

Big love, small tummies!

Read more from WatchFit Expert Jill Gardner

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