On January 21, International Hug Day has been celebrated since 1986, and the origin of this day dates back to the United States. A key date, especially in this time of uncertainty and emotions, where the word makes more sense than a body expression. This festivity encourages hugging, as a therapeutic and healing way of transmitting affection and emotions. “When we are babies, being hugged and caressed is absolutely necessary for our proper growth. We know that those babies who barely had physical contact can show various physical and emotional deficiencies in their development», explain the psychologists of the López Ibor Clinic.
Releasing tensions in the body, relaxing the muscles, stimulating the body’s oxygenation, reducing the feeling of loneliness and increasing well-being, are some of the many physical and emotional benefits that hugs have, according to the experts at López Ibor.
A hug, they continue, “is one of the strongest forms of expression of feelings that exist and its meaning manifests a reciprocal act of giving and receiving a bond and affection towards the other person. The benefits of hugging come from the power of touch. As humans, we crave interaction with other humans.”
The hug effect
What’s more, these experts point out, “from the comfort of being held in the womb to being held by parents as a baby, the need to be touched and held doesn’t go away as an adult.” In fact, they continue, “Our desire to be touched and hugged even increases as we get older because we don’t normally get it on a daily basis. Hugging is extremely effective in curing illness, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and stress.».
An example of this is the sociological experiment carried out in 2004 in Australia by Juan Mann, a man who began to feel terribly lonely and helpless and decided to go out into the street to give people hugs. Since he didn’t want to harass anyone and didn’t know how to introduce himself, he decided to make a banner with “Free Hugs” written on it. Mann says that during the first 15 minutes he felt quite strange and even terrified, since nothing happened, but suddenly an older woman approached him and accepted the hug. And that was the beginning of the story of how a personal need became a movement that helps people feel better.