The Surprising Benefits of Hugs and Kisses


Who doesn’t enjoy a heaping serving of some good old-fashioned loving? No, not that kind (get your mind out of the gutter!). We’re talking the sugary sweetness of snuggles, cuddles, hugs n’ kisses. You know, the loving your old Aunt Marjorie used to pepper you with when you were a kid, leaving you squirming to escape her vice grip to run to the bathroom and scrub red lipstick off your cheeks in disgust.

Turns out, old Aunt Marjorie was just trying to get hers. Scientists point to ample benefits of platonic affection enjoyed by the doters of the world and their benefactors:

Benefits of hugs


A big friendly squeeze releases a hefty amount of oxytocin – the feel-good love hormone. Oxytocin can serve you in many ways- it can protect those under duress from catching colds associated with stress, it can fill you with a sense of well-being and relaxation, and it can melt stressful feelings away. Reduced stress is related to increased immune system function, better cardiovascular health, and increased well-being and productivity.

Benefits of cuddling

Cuddling is just a hug on steroids. With its super-sustained full body contact, cuddling can provide all the advantages hugs do, except to a higher degree and with longer-lasting effects.


Does cuddling relieve stress too?

You bet your cuddle-loving buns it does. This benefit of cuddling is one of the main reasons why professional cuddlers are now a thing. In this burgeoning new field, people shell out good money to find themselves wrapped in the arms of a perfect stranger. With “cuddle therapy,” the recipients can reap the stress-relieving benefits that the burst of oxytocin provides with a session of platonic, professionally administered snuggles. (A more affordable alternative to soliciting the services of a professional cuddler would be to find your match on and cuddle to your heart’s content without the hourly rate – just sayin’!)

The scientific reason for kissing


There is much speculation in the scientific community about why we humans kiss each other. A commonly accepted display of affection in Western societies, kissing can either serve as an affectionate greeting between friends in some countries, while in others it is reserved for romantic endeavors.

As for passionate kissing, it seems obvious that kissing has developed as a widely-accepted mating ritual. It may be that kissing gives us an excuse to get close and sniff each other’s pheromones. These tell-tale love-chemicals provide us with a subconscious guide to whether or not we are compatible with a potential mate. And for women, romantic kissing can be a key component in arousal.

On the other hand, platonic kissing provides a sense of closeness, and the health benefits of a friendly kiss are similar to other forms of affection like hugs and cuddles, though kissing stimulates fewer touch receptors.

So please – get out there and love on one another. People need other people, and the world needs less stress. And the next time you greet a friend with a hug, squeeze just a little harder and a little longer – it’s for your health.