The Science Behind Touch Therapy:
4 Reasons a Cuddle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Can a cuddle a day really help keep the doctor away? Dr. Daniel Yadegar (MD, FACC) of NY Presbyterian Medical center believes so. In fact, he strongly recommends that everyone get their daily dose. “Cuddling can improve immunity [and] enhance mood for all patients, especially those with chronic medical conditions.” Here’s why he’s right:
Cuddling makes us happy! We’ve all heard about the “high” regular runners experience–that euphoric feeling caused by feel-good, pain blocking, endorphins. But did you know you can also get a “cuddling high”? According to Dr. Yadegar, “Cuddling and human contact release ‘good’ hormones like endorphins, as well as neurotransmitters, which together can profoundly reduce anxiety and improve people’s moods.”
Cuddling boosts the immune system! A recent study on the effects of touch showed that hugging more often helped prevent people under stress from getting sick. Dr. Yadegar explains, “Our daily interactions, whether good or bad, directly alter levels of disease-causing proteins and signal molecules. These so-called ‘inflammatory markers’ can decrease with positive interactions, making cuddling and human touch a powerful tool for disease prevention.”
Cuddling keeps us calm! Consensual, nurturing touch can help us stay calm during stressful situations. In two studies (, married women who held hands and hugged their partners were less anxious during stressful situations.
Nurturing touch like cuddling treats depression and dementia! People who are depressed show reduced blood flow to certain parts of the brain, such as the amygdala and hypothalamus. Studies have suggested that nurturing, non-sexual touch similar to cuddling, such as massage, can boost blood flow in these areas and improve some symptoms of depression.Another study conducted with elderly patients suffering from dementia shows that participants who received nurturing touch were less likely to be aggressive, stressed and to exhibit intellectual and emotional declines over time.
Dr. Yadegar explains that, the relationship between the world around us and how it affects our health has never been more clear. Cuddling has the power to take energy from the outer world–human touch and intimacy–and influence our inner world, down to the molecular level.” Indeed, conditions that are frequently treated with expensive medications and therapies could be prevented by simply connecting with those around us.
Join the cuddle revolution and experience the health benefits of touch therapy! It’s easy to find Cuddlist-certified practitioners in your area.