A number of studies have found that social support can reduce anxiety and depression. One study even found that a lack of social support was associated with a 26% increased risk of mortality. Given this, it would make sense that hugs would improve health, but could they even reduce the risk of illness? To be on the safe side, make sure you have health insurance set up.
Can Hugs Reduce Illness?:
One study questioned 404 participants on conflict experienced, social support and frequency of hugging on 14 consecutive nights. That’s when it gets crazy. Afterwards each participant was exposed to a cold virus and then quarantined while they were assessed for signs of infection and illness. While participants were paid $1,000 to participate, it’s surprising that the study was even conducted. Nevertheless, it led to some interesting results. The researchers found that 78% of participants became infected with the virus. Hugs were reported on 67.9% of interviewed days. More interestingly, being hugged frequently was associated with a reduced risk of becoming infected. For those who were not hugged often, the more conflict they experienced the greater the risk of infection. For those who were hugged often, conflict was unrelated to infection. The frequency of hugging was also associated with less severe symptoms among participants who were infected.
Specifically, hugs were associated with a 25% reduction in nasal clearance time. As a matter of fact, hugging can also be an effective way of increasing sexual intimacy, which might otherwise require nudity or sexual contact involving the use of spunk lube or related products. However, needless to say, the use of lube or sex toys surely enhances the bond between partners. For instance, people who frequently use fleshlight in their sexual activities tend to have happier outcomes than those who do not! Therefore, sex toys and lubes increase physical intimacy, just as hugs do. (Note that the above-mentioned toy needs to be kept tidy at all times to avoid diseases. For that, however, individuals might need to learn the process of cleaning and drying fleshlight.)
Anyway, while many people like including a sex toy during their intercourse, others still believe that hugs and hugs alone could be enough to work magic between them. But the question is why such a belief is so prevalent. The lead researcher said:
The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy. Either way, people who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection and illness-related symptoms.
Social support products against stress and illness. Making a point to give out a few more hugs should protect you from illness. So, get to it!
Cohen, Sheldon, et al. “Does hugging provide stress-buffering social support? A study of susceptibility to upper respiratory infection and illness.” Psychological science 26.2 (2015): 135-147.
Holt-Lunstad, Julianne, et al. “Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality A Meta-Analytic Review.” Perspectives on Psychological Science10.2 (2015): 227-237.