Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Huggers Get a Pat on Back

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Huggers Get a Pat on Back

Article excerpt

Jim Alouat

jim.alouat@news-mail.com.au

IT'S free. Lasts an average of about 10 seconds. And, according to various studies, it is really good for you.

Yesterday was National Hugging Day, a day to embrace hugging and all its wonderful attributes. From the quick buddy hug followed by a pat on the back to the fierce, embracing bear hug.

Forensic and developmental psychologist Sandy Rea said hugging was very important for both physical and emotional wellbeing.

"It lowers blood pressure, heart rate, increases immune function and helps with pain management," she said,

"Hugs release oxytocin, a hormone which makes people feel secure and brings down cortisol levels, thereby reducing stress, anxiety and loneliness."

She said a 2009 study by Mathew Hertenstein, a psychologist from De Pauw University, found humans had an innate ability to decode emotions via touch alone.

"These include anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, sympathy, happiness and sadness with an accuracy as high as 78%. …

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