Physical touch brings us a lot of joy. But why? This is due to the fact that any kind of physical touch, especially hugs, triggers the release of one hormone from your brain’s pituitary gland. This hormone is called oxytocin. This hormone is considered the "love hormone” or “cuddle hormone”. Actually, this is the primary hormone that occurs during orgasm and is able to improve bonding in couples.
Furthermore, various studies have shown that oxytocin plays a big role in maintaining your overall health and it has many powerful health benefits. Let’s review eight amazing reasons to cuddle more.
Your gut is essential for your immune system. Your gut and brain are connected through the gut-brain axis. Many studies have shown that oxytocin plays an important role in gut health. By increasing oxytocin levels through hugs, you can improve your T-regulatory cells, which are responsible for keeping your immune system healthy.
Hugs also contribute to the release of serotonin also called a “happy hormone”. In fact, nearly 95 percent of this hormone is produced and stored in your gut. Serotonin also plays a big role in maintaining your immune system strong and healthy. Research has shown that people who actually hugged more often were less likely to get sick.
Chronic stress, anxiety, chronic inflammation, and high blood pressure are the leading causes of high heart disease risk. All these problems can be eliminated when your body releases enough oxytocin. This is another weighty reason to hug more.
Weight gain and inability to lose extra pounds have lots of underlying causes. However, when it comes to the psychological side of eating and cravings, oxytocin is able to help you overcome the urge to eat for pleasure. It can also enhance the feeling of being full and satisfied, which can improve your food choices and lower sudden food cravings.
Low oxytocin levels have been linked to chronic pain, which means that this hormone is effective in pain management. According to one study, children who suffered from recurring abdominal pain had lower levels of oxytocin than children of the same age without abdominal pain. Scientists have found that oxytocin can reduce pain in people struggling with lower back pain, cancer, and even IBS.
According to statistics, about 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. This is a condition in which breathing stops and starts during the night. Scientists have found that oxytocin can improve the quantity of sleep as well as the quality of sleep. The hormone is also able to boost cardiorespiratory homeostasis. So, it’s a good reason to hug your loved one at night.
As was mentioned above, oxytocin is also called the "love" hormone, since it possesses a powerful ability to improve bonding between people. In fact, oxytocin is connected with childbirth. When a woman is pregnant, her body rapidly releases oxytocin to help her uterus contract. This hormone also helps the body to prepare for childbirth. Finally, it’s able to strengthen the bond between mother and baby.
Chronic inflammation is one of the most harmful things for your body. However, oxytocin can not only boost T-regulatory cells, which can decrease inflammation, but it also can reduce inflammation since it lowers pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6.
Yes, regular hugs can decrease anxiety due to oxytocin. This hormone is able to significantly reduce anxiety and even help people suffering from severe anxiety disorders, for instance, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.