I am not a hugger by nature, but I am one by design and these are a few reasons why:
- Hugs or other tactile contact between individuals has been proven to be essential to a person’s well being from the moment they are born. A simple hug that lasts at least 3 seconds can change the course of someone’s day by providing them with comfort and a short mental recharge.
- There are multiple studies out there showing that elderly individuals can benefit significantly from “touch therapy” including: hugs, massage, hand holding, shoulder holding, and pet therapy. The multitude of benefits from a simple touch in the elderly include everything from a decrease in rates of depression and pain, to increases in functional ability (especially in arthritic patients), and overall increases in life satisfaction.
- Hugs help build relationships and promotes healing. Used in the clinical setting they can provide patients with additional mental resources to use in combating their illnesses. The absence of touch has actually been shown to negatively influence a person’s mental status over time causing them to be withdrawn and less likely to heal.
- Hugging is a two way street. Sure the person you are hugging is reaping tons of benefits from the hug, but you are getting your own little mental boost as well.
So go out and hug someone who is receptive to a hug…. especially your Grandparents. If they aren’t huggers try a shoulder pat or a hand hold. The power of touch is immense and it will not only benefit the person being touched but also the person doing the touching 🙂
Interested in reading more, in depth research on the importance and power of a hug? Check out these awesome journal articles:
Providing Wholistic Health Care for the Elderly; by: Pamela A Shuler, Roxana Huebscher, and Judith Hallock; in the Journal of The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
The Touch That Heals; by: Drew Leder, and Mitchell W Krucoff; in The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine