What are the five long-term health benefits of cuddling? While you might not remember what you had for lunch yesterday, your brain always registers the touch of your partner. As subtle as an unintended graze, we never forget the sparks and chills that run down our spine. That’s how important the human touch is. And unlike stuff like drugs, alcohol, and junk that make us feel good, cuddling is not only pleasurable but also of great health benefits. This is why we bring you the long-term health benefits of cuddling.
1. Eases stress and anxiety
The stressors of life make our lives difficult and negatively impact our health. Much worse is the uncertainty about the future that keeps feeding our anxiety. Thankfully, cuddling comes with the release of oxytocin, the ‘feel-good hormone, and dopamine, the ‘feel-good neurotransmitter”. Notably, oxytocin eases stress and anxiety by reducing cortisol, the stress hormone. In support of this, research has shown that oxytocin is considered a promising therapeutics for anxiety disorder.
2. Improves Cardiovascular Heath
Our heart rate slows down and adjusts to sync with our partner when we cuddle. If only we know the benefits of those little moments?! Well, thanks to science, we have some insight. A 2010 study showed that subtle forms of physical intimacy before stressful events were beneficial in maintaining blood pressure and heart rate. The study concluded that individuals in affectionate relationships are more likely to have better cardiovascular health.
3. Relieves pain:
Because cuddling feels good and has a psychological effect on us, the act of cuddling reduces the degree of our perception of pain. Our brain and body know this as well, as it is instinctive to seek out physical touch for comfort or to comfort someone that’s physically or emotionally hurting by touching them. Good old science has also shown that oxytocin relieves chronic pain. It is also believed that oxytocin reduces pain by blocking pain signals.
4. Improves mental health
With cuddling comes the release of neurotransmitters that help regulate mood. Notably, dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is strongly associated with experiencing pleasure, while serotonin regulates the body’s mental state, sleep, and normal physiological function. When you couple the effects of these neurotransmitters with oxytocin, what you get is the perfect cocktail for happiness, mental stability, and good mental health.
5. Boost Immune system
Stress, lack of sleep, and depression are risk factors for a weakened immune system. Thankfully, we have cuddling to save the day. Aside from easing stress and improving our mental health, cuddling also puts us in a relaxed state that facilitates better sleep. Which also correlates to better immunity. The neurotransmitter serotonin modulates the composition of gut microorganisms and promotes gut immunity. Scientific studies have also found oxytocin to accelerate wound healing. More importantly, a recent study reported that hugging boosts the immune health against infection. This study discovered that individuals hugged more often had less severe upper respiratory tract diseases. There you have it! Remember, daily cuddles are just as effective as an apple per day.
The last word on the long term health benefits of cuddling
Cuddling is one of the best ways to stay healthy. It’s also an excellent way for you and your partner (or friends) to bond, feel more connected with each other, sleep better at night, release oxytocin in your body, which can help relieve stress and much more! What has been your experience with cuddling?