International Day of Cuddling: Their Benefits on Stress

Cuddles help fight against the deleterious effects of stress, whether they are aimed at a human or an animal.

Have you ever met them on a sidewalk or a place, these funny buggers with a "free hug" sign, a smile on their lips and arms wide open, ready to entangle you? These people deliver free hugs to strangers in the street. You may be part of those who make a strategic retreat or rush through the street to dodge the embrace. But you are wrong.

Cuddling is good for your health. The world day devoted to this gesture of affection, which is observed in many animals, is a good opportunity to remember. In fact, hugotherapy, a recent phenomenon and very fashionable, does not rely solely on the intuition that receiving tenderness from others has a positive impact on mental and physical health. It is a scientific fact.

The friendship of the rats

A study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology shows that male friendships and the manifestations of these (generosity, affection ...) help to fight against stress and counteract its physiological effects.

The experiment was conducted on two male rodents exposed to moderate stress, isolated and locked up for several hours. Once together, after suffering this distressing situation, the two friends had a tendency to socialize strongly, to share their meal and to show affectionate gestures similar to hugs.

Their oxytocin levels were noted during the experiment. This chemical compound, commonly known as the pleasure hormone, is associated with many social behaviors such as empathy or social recognition. When the rats were together after their detention, the rate increased. A virtuous circle seemed to set in: social interactions lowered their level of stress, which in turn fostered social interaction.

Cuddling against trauma

If in the literature, the effectiveness of the hug in the treatment of stress is still poorly documented, in the field, this gentle method seems to prove itself, thanks to the animals that many humans like to cuddle. They are also involved with hyperactive children, patients and the elderly, they improve health with pampering, caresses and big hugs.

Video: Canine Cuddles: Easing stress on campus (April 2020).