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How a Hug Saved a Life

Almost a year ago to the day I posted how important a hug can be. This story of a police officer offering a hug to a man about to commit suicide reinforces the power of a hug in a life and death situation. See it here: http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/arizona-news/-come-give-me-that-hug-chandler-officer-helps-suicidal-man-on-overpass

The power of a hug is enormous.While it may seem like a simple gesture, hugs have tremendous power. Virginia Satir, respected family therapist, has a saying; "We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance.

We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

Hugs actually activate the C-tactile afferents, which releases oxytocin, the "love hormone", and the oxytocin acts on the limbic (emotion) center in our brains stimulating the feeling of contentment, decreasing anxiety/stress, and increasing social bonding. The increase in oxytocin also helps the immune system and individuals that are hugged more often are less likely to become sick due to stress-induced illness.


In addition to the release of oxytocin, hugs activate the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which act on parts of the brain associated with feeling of pleasure, satisfaction and an increase in mood.


So, it's through the release of oxytocin, in conjunction with neurotransmitters , that creates the soothing and calming feelings we experience following a hug. A touch or hug signals to our body that we are worthy of being loved. So one way to let someone know they aren't alone is to give the gift of a hug.

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