Is Being a Hug Slut Good for Your Heart?

The manhug: Good for your heart?

I’m a hugger. I love hugging people. You might even call me a hug slut.

Two summers ago, I even organized a group free-spirits to give “Free Hugs” on the streets of Toronto. It was a great experience, and I remember going home feeling totally recharged and brimming with love. It felt good for my soul – but as it turns out, it was also good for my heart.

It all has to do with the hormone oxytocin. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s common during childbirth and it helps to facilitate breastfeeding. It’s also a neurotransmitter and aids in social bonding.

According to Dr. David Hamilton, Ph.D.:

We produce oxytocin when we bond with each other. Having quality relationships increases its levels. But another way to bond with someone is through a simple act of kindness. And this might just be good for the heart…. Exciting research has revealed that oxytocin plays a powerful role throughout the cardiovascular system.

During the 1990s, researchers discovered that breastfeeding women (who have a lot of oxytocin in their systems) have lower blood pressure. Researchers were able to attribute the lower blood pressure to the oxytocin through a number of laboratory experiments.

The implications are amazing: Smiling at strangers, holding the door open, being kind, connecting with friends, cuddling, hugging a stranger – any and all acts of kindness – reduce your risk of heart disease. And since the effects of oxytocin are cumulative, imagine the benefits of making these acts of kindness a regular part of your life?

Now, giving lots of hugs doesn’t justify an otherwise high-risk lifestyle. But it’s yet another reason to share a little more love with the world in 2011.

Hug sluts, rejoice.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. I love hugging, it’s one of those things that just make you forget all your troubles for those few moments.

  2. Smiling, being kind, opening the door, shoveling your elderly neighbors walkway, picking up a grocery item you can’t stand but your boyfriend loves and other acts of kindness are great and necessary.

    Going up and hugging some random person not so great. I don’t see how you can make a connection between kindness and hugging someone.

    I have several friends who are “huggers” and don’t seem to understand that some people (like me) don’t like being tackled. Its uncomfortable to say the least. I can’t imagine a random stranger doing it. It crosses a line of intruding on someone’s personal space.

    • I thought that said “shoving your elderly neighbor down the walkway” and almost laughed. Just almost, though.

    • I guess it’s all relative, I wouldn’t mind it. Those type of quirky unexpected moments usually make my day ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Bravo! I am not entirely comfortable hugging, but have no doubt it does me (and others) good.

  4. I hug all the time! It’s a great way to tell people you care about them!

  5. Alex Mitchell says:

    I love hugging, I shall not be complete till I get a Hug off you mr Wavey ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. well that explains why giant fat people like santa and oprah dont seem to have a problem with the obesity=heart disease equation… hormones…
    ha!

    ~ cheers…

  7. Finally, I am justified in being a cuddle/hug slut! Thank you, Davey Wavey! But, yes, please don’t tackle-hug random people on the street… It probably won’t end well… And even between friends, tackling is NOT an act of kindness!

  8. Free Hugs is an international practice! A single person stands in a public place holding a poster saying, “Free hugs.” After awhile someone takes them up on it. Then they hold a sign and so on. It spreads until the public space is filled with hugging people. It’s beautiful. No one is attacked. It is by invitation. I have a Free Hugs t-shirt and it is amazing how many hugs I get from strangers. Lots of people just need more hugs than they are getting. Hug on!

  9. The Perfect Gift–A Hug
    Luke 15:20
    April 1, 2004
    Steve Fenton

    “So the son left and went to his father…the father saw him coming…ran to him…and hugged…him.”

    My wife entered the elevator in tears. Every man knows elevators are the one place you’re never allowed to show emotion. She tried but could not hold them back. The woman standing next to her offered the perfect antidote to my wife’s need. “Do you need a hug?” “Yes!” my wife replied. I don’t know what the others thought as the elevator door opened to reveal two women
    embracing. Certainly they must be close friends. Nope, just a woman who gave a stranger the perfect gift–a hug.

    The following benefits have been attributed to ‘Hugs’
    * Hugging is healthy: it helps the body’s immune system
    * Hugging cures depression, reduces stress, induces sleep
    * Hugging is invigorating, rejuvenating, and it has no unpleasant side effects
    * Hugging is all natural: it’s organic, naturally sweet, has no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients, and is 100% wholesome
    * Hugging is practically perfect: there are no movable parts, no batteries to replace, has low energy consumption, is inflation-proof, non fattening, no monthly payments, theft proof, and is fully refundable

    As men we tend to see the ‘need to be hugged’ as a sign of weakness. Macho men don’t eat quiche and don’t need hugs. Oh yeah, what’s the first thing you do when being introduced to another man? You give him a handshake (a miniature hug). You don’t see women doing that. They just say hello, but we need to exchange a firm grip with one another. And how about your children, what do they want when you first come home? The perfect gift -‘a hug’. Studies show when a father stops hugging his children, believing they have outgrown the need, they seek it elsewhere, often
    leading to premature intimacy with others.

    I’m looking at a picture entitled ‘The Rescuing Hug’. It shows two newborn twins, one with its arm over the other. Apparently, each was in their respective incubators, and one was not expected to live. A hospital nurse disobeyed the rules and placed the two in one incubator. Immediately the healthier of the two threw his arm over her sister. The smaller baby’s
    temperature returned to normal and both survived. The hospital changed its policy due to the rescuing power of a hug.

    Action Plan: Next time you see a person in distress,
    perhaps the best thing to do is offer a hug. Don’t forget your family needs them regularly too. One study says at least seven a day!

    I thought I’d share this with all of you as I have with several others with positive effects.

  10. That is definitely Sergio Ramos and David Beckham hugging. Loooove it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. We also learned in my psychology of music class that there’s a link between oxytocin and music as well!

  12. i love hugging i cant get enough of it. i try to hugg at least 5 different people a day. YAY for huggs

  13. i looove hugs!! and now i have reason to give more! and my mom said i hug too much ๐Ÿ˜›

  14. I love hugging! In fact, I hug myself all the time. I might stop in the middle of a stressful beverage service, set the parking brake on my cart, and stand in the aisle with my arms wrapped around myself. Sure people stare but I don’t care! I’d hug them too, well the cute one’s for sure. And elderly, yes I’d hug them. Oh, and pets in carriers. I love puppy breath. Bad passenger breath on an all-nighter, not so much.

    Keep hugging Davey, sharing the love wherever you go.

  15. Miguel Ravago says:

    That is so nice about living in Europe, because you hug and kiss every time you see a friend or met a new one here in Europe. Boy or Girl (which ever) Miguel Ravago

  16. C davenportThis is why I’m agntiosc. No mere mortal is going to tell me what to do or how to live my life. God gave me a brain to think for myself and allow me the freedom to live as I choose! Religion is man made, spirituality is not. There have been more violent acts committed in the name of religion than anything else. Religion, in my humble opinion, is the largest plague on society that has ever exsisted! Therefore I will not subscribe to it’s man made doctrines and ideologies!

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  1. […] I’ve mentioned before, hugs are actually good for your health. After doing a free hugs event in Provincetown, MA, I’m now living proof and have first-hand […]