Intimacy is both important and lovely. Something as simple as hugging has many positive effects.
There are many different kinds of hugs for example within a partner relationship, between parent and child, or between friends. Did you know that no matter who you’re hugging, you will both feel better afterwards? Not only because you get close to someone else, but also because your body’s own medicine, the hormone oxytocin, is triggered in the body. Oxytocin coordinates the “peace and quiet system” in you and counteracts stress. It has a number of positive health effects on e.g. the immune system, blood circulation, blood pressure, nutritional uptake and wound healing.
A number of hugs a day could be an appropriate medical prescription if you do not feel great. And ideally be sure to hug properly, preferably for at least 30 seconds, to properly release the hormone.
Oxytocin is also released when you have sex and orgasm. Couples who experience problems in their sex life may also stop touching or hugging, because it is a reminder of the failed sex life. This further enhances the problem because the hormone can increase trust and transparency between people. Continuing with the physical intimacy helps keep the relationship alive. Sensuality training is a method of restoring physical intimacy and eventually sex life, when there has been a hiatus for any reason.
The desire for intimacy and sex is influenced by different life circumstances. Increased libido and sensuality have positive effects on mood, health and general well-being.
All friendly hugs and other physical contact and touch make you feel good. If you have no one to hug, there are other solutions like taking a hot bath, having a massage, or why not dance the tango?
If you want to immerse yourself in the influence of oxytocin, there is a book by Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg, the researcher, called “The Hormone of Closeness: The Role of Oxytocin in Relationships”.