How A Simple Hug Can Change Your Brain

Among all the organs in the body, the skin is considered the biggest and fastest growing organ because it gets replenished every month. The skin not only protects the internal organs from external factors, it also acts as a messenger to the brain and relays emotions that we feel, for instance when hugging someone.

Benefits of Hugging

All our senses are important for experiencing life in its entirety, but did you know that the sense of touch may have healing properties? Studies have shown that our bodies are programmed to respond to touch in a positive manner, especially when we are under a lot of stress.

Ancient healing practices believed in the therapeutic value of touch and fortunately, there seems to be a revival in its use. We now have studies showing how a reassuring pat on the back and the act of simply holding hands can have a positive impact on the brain and body.

Various studies have shown that a simple hug may have the ability to calm the nerves, reduce heart rate, relieve menstrual pain, lower blood pressure, stabilize breathing and even slow down the aging process among other benefits.

Can Hugging Really Rewire the Brain?

According to experts, hugging may have the same impact as meditation and some types of behavioral therapy because it may be able to rewire the brain.

A simple embrace can stimulate the brain to release endorphins, which can spread the feeling of healing and joy throughout the body. A hug can also promote the release of serotonin and dopamine, the hormones that enhance the feeling of calmness and sedation.

Apart from supporting physical aspects, a hug can also improve mental health. Research shows that hugging can reduce emotional distress and related problems like anxiety, stress and even depression.

How A Simple Hug Can Change Your Brain

Children benefit from hugs too, right from a newborn who feels secure in its mother’s arms to a teenager going away to college, children of all ages feel protected and wanted. A hug can also instill confidence and boost their self-esteem in children and adults, giving them the confidence to face what life has in store for them.

What’s even better is that the feelings brought up by short embraces can linger for hours, making both the giver and receiver feel relaxed and happy. The phrase “a warm hug” makes more sense now because the joy and relaxation that develop can spread like warmth through the body.

The main benefits associated with hugging include:

A hug is the simplest form of giving and it doesn’t cost a thing. So the next time you notice a friend who is feeling a little down, drop what you are doing, give them a hug and cherish the warmth it provides to the mind and body.


L. (2015, October 04). The Power of Hugs: Benefits to Your Health. Retrieved from

Ruhoy, I. (2018, July 01). This Integrative Neurologist Hugs Her Patients (And There’s A Science-Backed Reason Why). Retrieved from