The Physical Benefits of Nurturing Touch

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Something as simple as the human touch can have so many positive effects. 

On a physical level, touch can 

  • lower heart rate, 
  • lower blood pressure, 
  • decrease cortisol (a stress indicator), and
  • increase oxytocin (a feel-good hormone).


Are you a hugger?

Wouldn’t we all like to give and receive the benefits of a hug? However, touching or hugging may be awkward for those who have grown up in a family where there was no or little physical touch. 

I have friends who love getting hugs from me and others who would stiffen at my first attempt to give them a hug of gratitude or affection. I had to be considerate of their wide personal space. So, I found other ways to show my love while I patiently waited for them to get used to the idea that I am a hugger. 


Ask permission

It is important to respect someone’s personal space. Sometimes I found it appropriate to ask my non-hugging friends, ‘May I give you a hug?’ 

Even with my small nephews and nieces, rather than walk into their home and say, ‘Give me a hug!’, I will say, ‘I’d love a hug!’ or, ‘Any huggers here today?’ and leave it up to them to accept the invitation. Would that work for you?

It is said that we need as many as six hugs a day. If you live alone this can be difficult so here is a list of ways that may help.


Ways to get more touch


If you do have someone close by, how about you go and hold their hand or give them a hug? Tell them you are helping to increase their feel-good hormone! 🙂